Levin Management: Record 1.4M sq. ft. in leasing reflects retail momentum

Retail demand across the U.S. reflected brick-and-mortar resiliency through 2022, with healthy leasing driving down vacancies in the final months of the year. That’s according to Levin Management Corp.‘s latest transactional activity, released Monday.

The North Plainfield-based commercial real estate services firm said it hit a new annual record, closing more than 1.4 million square feet in new leases, renewals and extensions, and license agreements.

Matthew Harding. (File photo)

“Industry momentum — and our talented leasing team — propelled LMC to its strongest-ever leasing performance portfoliowide in 2022, following a record year in 2021,” LMC CEO Matthew Harding said. “This significant accomplishment coincided with our company’s milestone 70th year in business.”

The trending reflects the viability of brick-and-mortar retail overall, and Harding noted LMC has entered 2023 with a robust transactional pipeline. He expects strong performance to continue as retailers remain focused on responding to shifting consumer priorities and expectations.

Harding also said this positive outlook prevails despite ongoing economic headwinds, inflation and supply chain issues.

LMC’s activity shows continued expansion among national brands and franchisees — including discount retail, entertainment concepts, pharmacies and home furnishings stores. Fast-casual restaurants, personal care and fitness concepts also are active on the growth front. At the same time, momentum among independent retailers speaks to an influx of startups as well as established concepts expanding operations.

The firm’s 2022 deal highlights reflect this movement, including commitments with a combination Family Dollar/Dollar Tree (South Plainfield), CVS (Manasquan), children’s play concept Catch Air (Jersey City), Fortunoff Backyard Store (Bridgewater), Mattress Warehouse (North Brunswick), SETS Hybrid Training (Old Bridge) and two leases with Jersey Mike’s Subs (Delran and Hicksville, New York).

Grocery also showed its dominance in 2022. LMC in recent months negotiated two expansions with ShopRite (in Delran and Watchung), lease extensions with grocery anchors in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and also arranged a new lease with Tropical Supermarket in South Plainfield.

Retailers continue to open more stores than they close, an achievement on course to continue. To that end, LMC reported 55 new store openings within its leasing and management portfolio in 2022, including Ulta Beauty in Woodbridge and the Goodwill Store in Hamilton Township.

Alongside this transactional momentum, LMC continued to expand its management portfolio in 2022, with a record 1.1 million square feet added for new clients.

This included securing a multiproperty assignment encompassing two New Jersey shopping centers (Eatontown Plaza in Eatontown and Edison Crossroads in Edison) and a 29-property triple-net-leased portfolio. Additionally, the firm was retained to exclusively manage a 25-property portfolio of multitenant and net-leased assets primarily located on Long Island and in New York City. And, in Old Bridge, LMC became managing agent for the Shoppes at Old Bridge.

Reflecting expanded diversity within its portfolio, LMC also assumed the role of managing agent for 222 Bridge Plaza South, an office building in Fort Lee. And, on the industrial front, the firm’s construction management team is spearheading the development of two speculative warehouse buildings. Totaling approximately 108,000 square feet, they are additions at Rutgers Industrial Center in Piscataway, where LMC serves as longtime asset manager.

To support this business growth, LMC focused on building its internal resources, including several strategic promotions and new hires within its executive leadership, leasing and corporate administration teams. The firm also was well-recognized for its accomplishments, with multiple companywide and individual accolades during the year.

“It’s an exciting time at Levin Management,” Harding said. “2022 proved to be another banner year for our company in terms of both business growth and leasing volume. LMC’s new hires and organizational advancements will uphold and strengthen our services as we work to deliver the highest-quality expertise to new and existing clients.”