Bill Roark

In an ever changing world nothing has changed more than the world of retail.

The reasons are easy to see, with the advent of Amazon, free shipping and next day delivery plus the convenience of 24/7 shopping from the comfort of your home.

The average three-hour trip to the mall is almost a thing of the past. The result is the closing of many ‘big box’ stores such as Macy’s 300,000 sf store on Chicago’s Miracle Mile, the nationwide closure of the iconic Sears stores, the disappearance of the Fred’s stores and hundreds of other large and small retail stores.

Coresight Research estimates in addition to the already shuttered malls that 25% of the remaining malls will close in the next three to five years.

The ever looming question is what becomes of the large ‘big box’ retail spaces? The retail word is repurpose or adaptive reuse! What will become of the 50,000sf to 300,000sf empty spaces?

We see one of those uses at Pecanland Mall where The Tilt, an entertainment game venue, now occupies the space of a once large ‘big box’ retailer.

Other adaptive reuse of retail space is gyms, libraries, college satellite campuses and churches. But perhaps the most popular use is Upscale Self Storage Facilities.

These spaces can be purchased for much less than building new facilities with the possibility of two levels of space and an existing loading dock.

Buying for a national average of $60 psf and retrofitting for $20-$30 psf . Because the parking ratios are much less than required for retail there is excess land for additional development.

The one issue is the zoning requirements for self-storage is often different than retail. This may require a special exception or a re-zoning.

On the Local Scene

The CHAUTAUQUA OFFICE BUILDING, 206 E. Reynolds Drive, Ruston has sold for $2,255,000. The 33,000 sf office building sold for $68.33 psf.

The 11.2 acres at 620 Mane Street, West Monroe occupied by UNITED RENTALS has been sold for $3,600,000. The sale was for the 11.2 acres and United Rentals will continue to occupy the location.

Bill Roark is a Commercial Associate Broker at Tri State Properties and may be contacted by email to

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