Levin Management reports record 1.2M sq. ft. in transactional activity in 2021

North Plainfield-based Levin Management Corp. said Tuesday that, as consumers returned to physical stores in 2021, so did retail tenants — demonstrating the enduring value of the brick-and-mortar experience in a post-pandemic world.

LMC’s leasing activity punctuates this trend; the commercial real estate services firm closed a record 1.2 million square feet in new leases, renewals and extensions, and license agreements last year — with a robust transactional pipeline continuing into 2022.

LMC also reported 59 new store openings within its retail-focused leasing and management portfolio in 2021, more than double the number of store openings in 2020 and representing a 33% increase over 2019. Industrywide trends indicate this momentum will continue in 2022, with expansions among traditional brick-and-mortar tenants supplemented by increased leasing among digitally native brands.

“Levin’s sustained transactional activity reflects the continued viability and resilience of brick-and-mortar retail,” LMC CEO Matthew Harding said. “Confidence among retail tenants drove strong leasing velocity through 2021 and shows no sign of abating in the new year. National brands and franchisees will continue to capitalize on opportunities to secure exceptionally good real estate at good pricing. We also are seeing movement among independently owned retailers. This activity is happening at a steady pace, fueled by current market conditions.”

LMC’s 2021 retail leasing highlights included a 20,400-square-foot transaction with the Goodwill Store at Hamilton Plaza (Hamilton Township), a 10,000-square-foot lease with Ulta Beauty at St. Georges Crossing (Woodbridge) and a 9,600-square-foot lease with LL Flooring at Fairground Plaza (Mount Holly). Non-retail leasing highlights within LMC’s diversified portfolio included a 118,000-square-foot, full-building lease by USA Container Co. Inc. at Rutgers Industrial Center (Piscataway).

Commensurate with this leasing momentum, LMC is also experiencing a construction uptick. LMC in 2021 completed about 200,000 square feet of buildouts, with 380,000 square feet currently underway or in the near-term pipeline.

“More leasing means more fit-out work, especially with many national tenants mandating turnkey space delivery,” Harding said. “Further, with increased space available post-pandemic, competitive owners are doing added prep work before space hits the market as a strategy for winning tenants.”