Winick Realty Group has started a location analytics department, meeting customer demand for empirical evidence in decision making, Commercial Observer has learned.
In addition to standard demographics from the U.S. Census Bureau, Winick is using other public databases such as Metropolitan Transportation Authority ridership data and PLUTO data on ownership as well as private sources like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, said Kenneth Hochhauser, who is heading up the two-person department.
“More so than ever before, retail real estate decision making is based on empirical evidence,” said Mr. Hochhauser, who worked as a broker for Winick prior. “It gives [landlords] a greater understanding of the potential value of their retail space in a give marketplace. And vice versa, for retailers, it demonstatrates the compatibility of consumer to product.”
To do the job, Winick purchased a computer software system, ArcGIS, and hired an analyst, Thomas MacDonald. Messrs. Hochhauser and MacDonald have backgrounds in geographic information systems.
The department is not unique to Winick, Mr. Hochhauser said. The better real estate firms have location analytics departments inhouse, but Winick is distinct in how it’s looking at marketplaces, he added.
Among other things, the department is looking at different market drivers, activity generators and commuter spending patterns.
SCG Retail, as part of the Atlanta-based Shopping Center Group, has been utilizing this type of information in all of the markets the firm covers.
“For [landlords], it gives some insight as to who they should target as a tenant, but at the end of the day if their neighbor is asking ‘x’ they are going to ask either ‘x+1’ or ‘x-1,'” said SCG Retail’s Geoff Bailey. “For tenants, this information becomes one criterion among many in the decision-making process.”
Cushman & Wakefield provides such services, too.
“We provide advanced retail consulting services to our retail clients to include portfolio rationalization, demand surface analysis, customer profiles and strategic planning,” said Gene Spiegelman, vice chairman of retail services at Cushman.
Update: This story was edited to include a comment from Cushman & Wakefield’s Gene Spiegelman.