DDR Expands Set Up Shop Program in Central Florida

Based on the positive results of the pilot "Set Up Shop" program started in Atlanta in early 2012, DDR has decided to expand this small-business leasing program to 24 of the company’s shopping centers throughout Florida, with an emphasis on the central Florida markets of Tampa and Orlando.

Based on the positive results of the pilot “Set Up Shop” program started in Atlanta in early 2012, DDR has decided to expand this small-business leasing program to 24 of the company’s shopping centers throughout Florida, with an emphasis on the central Florida markets of Tampa and Orlando.

Set Up Shop is a creative approach to small-shop leasing in which qualified entrepreneurs receive flexible terms designed to limit some of the barriers associated with starting a business. The program allows DDR to reduce asset-level expenses, increase recovery rates and operating income, while at the same time enhancing the merchandise mix of its assets with local businesses.

“Set Up Shop is an aggressive initiative to generate activity in targeted small-shop units in the DDR portfolio without putting capital at risk,” said Paul Freddo, senior executive vice president of leasing and development for DDR. “Of the 100 units allocated to this program in Atlanta, we have generated hundreds of leads, ten fully-executed leases and a dozen others in various stages of negotiation in just two months. Examples of product type in the Set Up Shop spaces include consumer services, exercise facilities and clothing and accessory merchants.”

As in the case of the Atlanta pilot program, DDR will most likely partner with SCORE—a national nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs—to serve as a resource for Set Up Shops in Florida. According to an official company statement, SCORE’s network of experienced volunteers will be available for free, as well as confidential business consulting services to these retailers.

DDR is an owner and manager of 481 value-oriented shopping centers representing 123 million square feet in 39 states, Puerto Rico and Brazil. The company’s assets are concentrated in high barrier-to-entry markets with stable populations and high-growth potential, and its portfolio is actively managed to create long-term shareholder value. DDR is a self-administered and self-managed REIT operating as a fully integrated real estate company and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.