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Expert: Future Of Metro Phoenix Retail Is 'Solid'

Despite more people shopping online during the pandemic, one local expert says the future of retail in metro Phoenix  is “solid."

Even before COVID-19, the retail landscape was changing with developers focusing more on mixed-use projects.  

“It’s really about energy and looking at retailers and how they synergize with one another, looking at our fitness players, our restaurants, apparel,” said LeDonna Spongberg, first vice president of CBRE Phoenix. “Large-box tenants, they’re not going away, there’s just been maybe some shifting of players of who was predominant.”

During a June webinar hosted by Valley Partnership, Spongberg said brick-and-mortar retail is still relevant. 

“I think as retail becomes a source of escape and a good place for energy and community gathering, I think that that’s the strength of what retail is bringing to the table right now,” she said.

Spongberg said entertainment venues like theatres and bowling centers may adjust plans to allow for more distance between groups but she expects they’ll be important in future projects. 

“Those environments are almost becoming almost as critical as a restaurant or any sort of maybe department store anchor and the reason being is that people are coming back and they’re gathering and the one thing they did miss was that interaction and being around groups,” she said. 

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.