Who’s Who in Real Estate: Struggling Retail Sector Shows Signs of Life

Woodland Hills-based NewMark Merrill Cos. Inc. is an active player in L.A.’s retail real estate market.

The company, which was founded by Sandy Sigal in 1997, owns or manages 85 shopping centers totaling more than 10 million square feet. Among NewMark Merrill’s roughly 1,800 tenants are Whole Foods Market Inc., Walmart Inc., Regal Theatres and CVS Pharmacy Inc.

In addition to centers in California, the company has properties in Colorado and Illinois. Local centers include Crenshaw Imperial Plaza, Norwalk Town Square, The Shops at South Bay Pavilion, Marina Pacifica and Devonshire Reseda Shopping Center.

The acquisition of multiple buildings at South Bay Pavilion in Carson was announced Sept. 29. The previous owner was Seritage SRC Finance.

The buildings, better known as The Shops at South Bay Pavilion, contain roughly 182,000 square feet of retail space. Tenants include Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Smashburger, Ross Stores Inc. and Jersey Mike’s.

The larger mall is 1 million square feet and counts Ikea and Target Corp. among its tenants. NewMark Merrill plans to stabilize the center.

Sigal said he got a good deal on the property, and its tenants were performing well, even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

NewMark Merrill already owns a center in Carson.

“We are long-term believers that people like the social experience of going outside and shopping,” Sigal said.

The company is looking to acquire more retail centers, particularly in areas without a lot of other retail and where residents want NewMark Merrill in the neighborhood.
“For us, it all starts with the community,” Sigal said. “We want communities that want us to be there.”

Sigal likes a tenant mix that allows the shopping area to be “the center of the community.” He also wants centers that “complement online shopping” and have daily needs tenants such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gyms.

In L.A., Sigal is a fan of areas like Carson and Inglewood. He tends to avoid neighborhoods that already have a heavy retail presence.

Sigal said a big part of his job is “getting through the next five to six months.”

He’s hoping PPP is expanded so tenants can get extra money to stay afloat, and he’s working to understand county and state regulations where NewMark has properties, so the company help tenants be successful.

“In times of crisis, it’s easy to look inward,” he said. “We have to remember that there are a lot of people that depend on us to help them survive, and that includes our small businesses.”

From labusinessjournal.com. Click here for the full article.