“retailers have their eyes on a new type of mall — your university”
This makes sense. Students always need stuff.
The Future Of The Mall Might Be On Your College Campus
Chain retailers have their eyes on a new type of mall — your university. While higher education may once have been associated with the ivory tower — a secluded place of rigorous study — now companies like Target, Trader Joe’s, Urban Outfitters, and Publix are opening stores on or near college campuses, chasing students who are setting up shopping habits that could last a lifetime.
“It gives the colleges a competitive edge when they have a vibrant retail strip or area around their campus,” Kathy Sawin, executive vice president of brokerage services at retail brokerage firm Metro Commercial, told BuzzFeed News.
The University of Pennsylvania was one of the first institutions of higher education to bring retailers onto its campus at what is now known as Sansom Place, said Swain, who worked on the project in the early 2000s. The university livened up what had been an unused parking lot with retail storefronts and restaurants, UPenn’s executive director of real estate, Ed Datz, told BuzzFeed News. Today, retailers on the campus include Urban Outfitters and Lululemon, which both pay rent to the university, with profits going back into the university’s real estate portfolio.
Before Sansom Place was built, chain retailers were reluctant to locate stores around universities because they determined potential sales by the average household income in the area, said Datz. To lure retailers, the university offered favorable leasing terms for new tenants. Business quickly took off. Now the university owns 350,000 square feet of retail space and manages 125,000 more. Its occupancy rate is somewhere between 90% and 100%.
“We’re the size of a small mall,” he said. “We were able to demonstrate there was a market for retail.”
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