5 Ways to Reap Revenue from Unused Retail Space

1.      DARE TO BE DIFFERENT – Enhancing a retail center with unique tenants creates synergy and healthy competition. New experiences drive traffic, repeat visits and sales. Keep your center fresh with new and different shops; develop relationships with local and regional boutiques so you’ll be their first call when they’re ready to expand. Offer competitive and flexible lease terms to entice retailers and incubate their concepts and support them with  marketing and retail expertise.

2.      COMMON BONDS: Maximizing common area space can yield high rewards, it’s a delicate balance to improve the customer experience while preserving and increasing the value of the leased space. Create a comprehensive plan that includes the number of carts/kiosks/retail merchandising units, a merchandising proposal, and advertising opportunities with strategic placements to ensure that your specialty leasing program is successfully maximized.

3.      BE THE BILLBOARD: Think of your center as a giant billboard for potential advertisers and entrepreneurs, and sell it as such. Capitalize on the shopping center’s healthy traffic numbers throughout the year and the increase at the holidays with promotional packages to area businesses. Vacant storefronts and well-positioned blank walls, both interior and exterior, provide a great opportunity for branding, advertisements and revenue generation.

4.      EMBRACE EMPTY – Offer inline retailers the opportunity to take advantage of unused, vacant space to augment their sales. Provide patio seating for a restaurant that’s busting at the seams and help them grow sales. Offer vacant storefronts to retailers for visual displays as a way to grow sales—challenge them to make their displays dynamic with a call to action driving shoppers to their stores. Landlords will reap the benefits of successful stores paying even more percentage rent.

5.      THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX – Take a hard look at spaces with reoccurring or long-term vacancy and evaluate them for alternative uses. Make the most of hard-to-lease spaces by backfilling them with service and destination concepts like an entertainment or community venue, salon, dentist or doctor’s office and/or gym. These need-based tenants create new reasons for repeat visits and longer stays, while providing added potential to capture sales. Keep in mind that a nominal investment in a vacant space can create long-term interest and occupied space is always optimal.


By: Holly Rome, Director of National Retail Leasing, JLL  and Tracey Hatley-Baker, Director of Specialty Leasing, JLL