In commercial real estate, a noticeable shift is underway in Jacksonville, as legacy markets like Arlington, Regency, Northside and Westside have witnessed a resurgence in commercial leasing activity from retailers and restaurants alike.
Traditionally overlooked, these areas are now capturing the attention of retailers, diverging from the conventional focus on only the hottest markets of North Florida.
Retail, guided by population trends and traffic patterns, gravitate toward areas experiencing increased housing starts. Florida came in second behind Texas, with net migration to the state with 365,200 new residents in 2023.
North Florida is a beneficiary of this trend, paving the way for legacy markets like Arlington, Regency and the Westside to become thriving hubs, attracting new residents and sustaining existing businesses.
The success of established businesses in these areas has further enticed newcomers, creating a mutually beneficial relationship between demand and prosperity.
Regency is a prime example, with the buzz surrounding the mall redevelopment injecting new life into the trade area. This announcement garnered attention and fueled increased activity from local and national retailers eager to be part of the area’s transformation.
Gateway Town Center, another example, announced last year deals with Burlington Coat Factory, Five Below and Planet Fitness.
Another catalyst for more desire to explore traditionally overlooked markets is the surge in demand for retail spaces in Jacksonville, outpacing the available supply.
With a pullback in new development over the last two years, demand has not kept up with supply in the region. This scarcity has prompted retailers to explore markets historically considered less attractive, presenting a new realm of opportunities.
Data has played a key role in this shift, by confirming preconceived notions of viability for success.
The resurgence in legacy markets is a testament to the dynamic nature of consumer demand and businesses strategically aligning with flourishing communities. Jacksonville is undergoing a retail renaissance, with these legacy markets emerging as lucrative spaces where businesses can thrive, offering a blend of affordability, community engagement and sustained growth.
As retailers look beyond traditional hot spots, the unexpected boom in these markets highlights the adaptability of the industry and the potential for success in unconventional yet vibrant spaces.
Carrie Smith is a Member of the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Northeast Florida Chapter.