Restaurant leasing overcoming pandemic, Levin Management says

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, restaurant leasing activity has remained high for Levin Management Corp., a commercial real estate firm based in North Plainfield.

The firm has seen nearly two dozen commitments from dining concepts over the past 18 months, and restaurants remain among the most active sectors in retail leasing, the company said in a news release Tuesday.

Leasing activity has been particularly strong among fast-casual concepts and in open-air retail centers where it’s easier to adapt to pandemic-related disruptions, the company said.

“Restaurants of all types are valuable additions that contribute to an open-air retail property’s appeal for consumers. And open-air centers, in turn, remain a preferred destination for dining tenants,” Levin CEO Matthew K. Harding said.

“Neighborhood, community and power centers not only house traffic-driving categories like grocery and home improvement, but they also provide a higher level of operational flexibility and convenience than other product types,” he said.

LMC has received commitments from independent restaurant owners as well as established brands looking to expand, including new locations for Jersey Mike’s Subs and Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken at St. George’s Crossing in Woodbridge and a Five Guys at Hartford Corners in Delran, the company said.

“Dining tenants are confident, and transactions are coming together quickly,” Harding said. “National brands and franchisees are making deals; they have come ‘off pause’ and are capitalizing on current opportunities to lease exceptionally good real estate at a good price.”