What Happens When the Anchor Tenant Moves and You Are On a Ten-year Lease?
Recently there was an article in the Houston Business Journal of the anchor store in many shopping centers through out Houston pulling out. Kmart, took out some stores, so did three other big box stores and a few consumer electronics places and larger furniture stores, now Albertson's has left. Who gets hurt? The franchise stores who pay a high price and lease to be in those centers along side a big anchor tenant. Think about it, Albertson's with their large super stores with Banks in side, Starbucks coffee, bakery, mini eating area, film developing and pharmacy. Soon in Western States where property and land permit, on site carwashes too and also some already have fuel for your car, when you are a club card member. What if you had an MBE, Quiznos, Subway, Dry Cleaning, Travel Agency (as if things are not bad enough already), GNC, Hobby Town, Cost Cutters, etc.
If your anchor tenant moves out and traffic dies in the shopping center you are screwed. Right now it is tough on some small businesses that are not serviced based and mobile, but imagine the problems when the mall dies for no reason, due to an accounting glitch or cost cuts by some larger corporation which is your anchor tenant. And do not expect anyone to care, because Albertson's is based in Boise ID and CA. Kmart is Midwest, and this is not like the Kreisge's 5 and Dime in the old days, today it all about quarterly profits, shareholders equity, next months P and L and man they do not give one darn about the burned area left behind. Other large retailers are based in the middle of no where, like Wal-Mart in Bentonville AR, and they often move to better locations right out side of town in a growing area and close the other stores. Are you sure you want to sign a ten-year lease for space? Not me. That might be the longest and hardest ten years of your life.
You might want to think about the risks before you sign away ten years worth of lease payments to a shopping center management company. You might want to consider a reduction if the anchor tenant suddenly pulls out or an escape clause at your choosing. Think about it, others didn't and they are still paying.