From the Brokers' Perspective: How Lidl Joined Skyland Town Center (Part II of II)

As discussed on our last post, we nailed down Rappaport’s trusted landlord representatives of Skyland Town Center, Jim Farrell, Michael Leon, and Thomas Bolen III, to examine the process of bringing well-known retailers like Lidl US to the new mixed-use development in Southeast Washington, D.C.  In this second part of the series, we asked how this deal will impact the future of the development and the community as a whole.

What benefits do you think Lidl saw in the development and community?

Michael: “Lidl is great for Skyland Town Center because they’re going to anchor the project.  There are so few grocery options out there – it is a food desert – so that is probably the biggest reason Lidl is coming.  We think having their first store in D.C. at Skyland will create a critical mass for other retailers to join them.”

Jim: “Lidl proudly views themselves as a discount grocer, but they are not low end.  Not in presentation, not in the building, not in the space, not in the quality of their offerings.  Their customer encompasses wide-ranging demographics because their offerings span that whole spectrum.  It will bolster the community to have such a sought-after supermarket in their neighborhood.”

Thomas: “It is a better option economically, serving the needs of everyone in the Southeast community.  Lidl not only brings food options, but they sell other merchandise and products, so they are adding selection at an affordable price.  Like I said before, the Hillcrest community has a lot of homeownership and Lidl offers household items that they previously would have to travel outside of their neighborhood to purchase.”

How does Lidl coming to Skyland adjust your strategy and merchandising plan for the project?

Thomas: “Everyone wants to be close to Lidl now and I think it helps grasp what we’re trying to do.  For so long, Skyland Town Center was an aspirational vision for the community.  Rappaport has been working on making this a reality for decades now.  With Lidl entering the mix, that vision is becoming a reality.”

Michael: “It enables us to go back to people who had expressed interest, but were waiting to see who was anchoring the project.  For smaller tenants, that’s hugely important because that’s who is going to drive their traffic.  It’s much easier to show than tell.”

Jim: “Our strategy really has not changed.  We are going after the best retailers and services for this community just like we always have.  Now, we just have a bit more bargaining power.”

For more information regarding Skyland Town Center retail leasing opportunities, visit the property page here.

For Part I of this two-part series, click here.