News release

Consumer spending drives investor revival for urban retail in 2024

The prime urban retail corridors are benefitting from the combination of robust consumer spending and record-low retail vacancy, accounting for a combined 3.3% growth in asking rents from 2022 to 2023

February 20, 2024

Jenna Sharp

Capital Markets PR
+1 214 438 6450

CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 2024Urban retail is poised for an investor resurgence in 2024, underpinned by robust consumer spending, as well as record-low total retail vacancy. This led to a combined 3.3% growth in asking rents in prime retail corridors from 2022 to 2023, according to JLL’s 2024 City Retail Report. Consumer spending continues to grow, surpassing $705 billion in September of 2023, and retail vacancy reached a historic low of 4.2% at 2023 year-end.

"Urban retail has reclaimed its prominent position in the market in 2024 with its resilient tenant demand, robust occupancy rates and steady rent growth," said Senior Managing Director Chris Angelone, who co-leads the JLL Retail Capital Markets platform.

The performance of urban retail has been heavily supported by the performance in other property sectors. Office populations surpassed 50% across all major metros, urban hotel RevPAR has exceeded 2019 levels and residential population outflows from major cities have stabilized.

Furthermore, the reemergence of group, business and international travel activity is expected to further boost the performance of urban retail markets. As of September 2023, visitors to the United States had spent a combined $156 billion, a 31.6% increase over the same period the previous year and a 183.7% increase over 2021.

Despite resilient fundamentals backed by strong consumer demand, a lack of portfolio transactions and large-check size deals reinforced by debt market turbulence resulted in significant liquidity declines relative to abnormally high activity in 2021 and 2022. As a result, the U.S. urban retail transaction volume reached $4.8 billion in 2023, down 39% year-over-year. Albeit, relative to all other core property sectors, urban retail investment activity experienced the lowest level of decline year-over-year.

Investment activity is expected to accelerate over the next 12 to 18 months as a function of growing optimism for interest rate cuts this year, private equity fund life expirations and financial stress in the face of over $1 billion in U.S. urban retail securitized debt reaching maturity over the next three years (Trepp).

Most recently on February 8th, JLL Capital Markets closed the sale of 701 North Michigan Ave., a bespoke, 22,900-square-foot retail asset located at the base of the Warwick Allerton Hotel on Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile.” The property is currently leased to a high-performing Rolex, which occupies 2,240 square feet of ground-floor retail and 2,040 square feet of basement storage on a long-term basis. JLL represented the seller, Grosvenor, and procured the buyers, Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group. Managing Director Keely Polczynski, Senior Director Michael Nieder, Associate John Dettlaff and Analyst Caity Tirakian led the JLL Investment Sales Advisory team in this transaction.

Previously, long-term tenants, Brooks Brothers and Stuart Weitzman, occupied the entire space, and both vacated during the pandemic. Subsequently, Rolex, who had enjoyed a long history across the street, leased the space to sit at the marquee corner with the added benefit of lower-level storage space. Rolex’s sales in its new location have remained extremely strong, and the company’s recent acquisition of Bucherer, one of Europe’s largest watch retailers and owner of the Tourneau chain, has added to the strength of the tenancy and appeal to co-tenants. The property features three small format vacancies, as well as additional basement storage, that are supported by the high leasing momentum on Michigan Avenue, providing Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group with a value-add, lease-up opportunity.

“This was a heavily sought-after offering, given the opportunistic nature of the deal at a key corner along an internationally renowned high street,” said Polczynski. “There is a growing sentiment that the window to buy assets like this is closing.”

"Chicago is a growing market for us, and 701 North Michigan Avenue represents an exciting opportunity to expand our portfolio in high-end urban retail," said Elliot Nassim, Mason Asset Management. "We look forward to supporting Rolex's success with co-tenants that will further add to the dynamic mix of the block." 

JLL Capital Markets is a full-service global provider of capital solutions for real estate investors and occupiers. The firm's in-depth local market and global investor knowledge delivers the best-in-class solutions for clients — whether investment sales and advisory, debt advisory, equity advisory or a recapitalization. The firm has more than 3,000 Capital Markets specialists worldwide with offices in nearly 50 countries.

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About JLL

For over 200 years, JLL (NYSE: JLL), a leading global commercial real estate and investment management company, has helped clients buy, build, occupy, manage and invest in a variety of commercial, industrial, hotel, residential and retail properties. A Fortune 500® company with annual revenue of $20.8 billion and operations in over 80 countries around the world, our more than 106,000 employees bring the power of a global platform combined with local expertise. Driven by our purpose to shape the future of real estate for a better world, we help our clients, people and communities SEE A BRIGHTER WAYSM. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

About Namdar Realty Group

Namdar Realty Group “(NRG”) was founded in 1999 with the acquisition of a small retail strip on Long Island, New York. The privately held, vertically integrated real estate firm has grown to become one of the top ten largest retail landlords in the United States. NRG currently owns well over 60-million square feet of commercial real estate, comprising of hundreds of properties and is actively expanding. Its portfolio consists primarily of retail assets, in addition to multi-family, mixed-use, office and healthcare properties throughout the United States.

About Mason Asset Management

Mason Asset Management is a Long Island-based real estate investment and advisory company with expertise in the acquisition, management, disposition, and leasing of commercial real estate properties throughout the United States. Founded in 2010, the company invests in value-add properties and provides transactional and advisory services to banks, financial institutions, and owners with a focus on the real estate restructuring industry.  Since inception, Mason Asset Management has firmly established its position as the preeminent privately owned owner/operator of retail assets nationally and currently has a national portfolio of more than 120 shopping centers, including 45 regional malls, totaling more than 30 million square feet.