02 Jan Enhancing Life With Curated Retail
Southern Land Company’s mission is to enrich and connect lives through the meticulous creation of unique and beautiful environments that enhance the way people live.
So as a national developer, when creating one of its mixed-use destinations, SLC thinks first and foremost how a decision about the project positively impacts not just the residents but also the neighbors and community. That means leasing retail and entertainment space that isn’t about the bottom line, but about elevating the project to ensure it enhances the quality of life for those who regularly interact with it.
That’s why Southern Land Company sees curating retail and entertainment options as an opportunity to raise the bar and differentiate itself. Paul Neuroth, SLC’s Senior Vice President for Retail Leasing, calls it, “Amenity Leasing.”
“We want our residents to be able to stay on site and find the fitness, retail and dining they desire. We treat our commercial leasing as an amenity,” he adds. “It isn’t about finding the tenant who is willing to pay the most or sign up the quickest—we take the time to curate shops and chefs that will add long-term value to the project and the community. Creating a special place for our residents and the community is so much more valuable to us than a more expensive lease in lieu of the right merchant or restaurant.”
Neuroth oversees sales and leasing for all of Southern Land Company’s commercial portfolio, including existing properties and new developments. Since joining the company in 2007, he has brought in marquee tenants, maximized occupancy levels and created a sustainable tenant mix.
While many national developers rely on third-party brokers and consultants to pitch and lease their retail space, SLC is rare in executing this role in-house with Neuroth. The position further signals the company’s commitment to putting a premium on what occupies space in their developments and allows SLC the freedom to carefully develop the proper mix, as opposed to rushing to just fill space.
Take its Vertis Green Hills mixed-use development as an example. Slated to open in the spring of 2018, the project contains luxury apartments, penthouses and office space in a high-income area of Nashville, Tennessee. Looking at the demographics and the needs of the area, Neuroth realized the retail component of Vertis could be impactful.
“We first wanted to determine what mix of retail is appropriate for the area, and once that’s done we want to look outside the box for tenants that are missing in the market and offer the very best of what is in demand,” said Neuroth.
Southern Land Company was first able to land True Food Kitchen, a health food concept out of Scottsdale, AZ. The concept was looking at Nashville and Charlotte for potential expansion, but when Neuroth approached them with Vertis and the demographics of the area, True Food felt its search was complete, and Vertis had its key tenant.
With an exciting eatery like True Food in place, the dominoes began to fall, and Southern Land Company sought to establish Vertis as the premiere health, wellness and lifestyle destination in Green Hills. Since then, health facilities CorePower Yoga and SculptHouse were also added to Vertis. Leases with additional wellness tenants are also being negotiated and will soon be announced.
“I’m looking for tenants that are additive to the lifestyle of our residents, while ensuring they’re original, exciting and, most importantly, sustainable,” added Neuroth. “We put a lot of time and energy into recruiting the right fit, including by doing our own research, to make sure we can leave a positive, lasting impact on the residents and the community.”
Going above and beyond in attracting tenants from across the country goes back to SLC’s core principals. Neuroth notes Southern Land Company CEO Tim Downey and President Brian Sewell are often in his office sharing ideas, approaches and the overall vision.
“Leasing is as important as anything we do at Southern Land Company. There’s total buy-in from the top-down to accomplish our mission of creating second-to-none environments and thinking through every element of every project we deliver,” he noted.
The extra mile here is passed on to those who live at and enjoy the communities crafted by Southern Land Company.