Outlets at Conroe Potential
For those in the area, you have seen that the Outlets at Conroe is VERY quiet. There are hardly any retailers at all leasing space in there. I am not sure what happened. When I first moved to the area 18 years ago, it was bustling. I drive by there almost everyday now and have driven in the parking lot to look at the stores, or lack thereof recently. I don't know what happened.
The potential is sure there. The location is pretty amazing, right off of I-45, north of Houston, and the quality of the buildings look to be in good shape, but wouldn't hurt from a little upgrade. The growth in the area is crazy. A recent Twitter post by the CISD Superintendent stated that there are over 2k more students enrolled then last year alone (https://twitter.com/ConroeISDSupt/status/1169217165049905152). I am so interested in what the challenges are. Are they having trouble leasing to retailers and big brands because of the cost of leases? Unreasonable terms? What caused the mass exodus and why can't they build it back up? I know there are more outlets around the Houston area, but still. I am curious if anyone that reads this knows. If so, please let me know.
Some hustle and outside the box ideas could very well be the answer to attracting retailers.
I haven't done it personally, but with some targeting and strategic messaging, partnerships and events, you could land one or two big fish, which will provide leverage to land many more.
I think I'd approach everyone that left as a first step and incentivize them to come back.
I'd look at the competitors in the area, like JCPenny and approach like stores that have gone the outlet path before, like Macy's and Dillard's. Entice them to get ahead of their local competition. Do the same thing with The Woodlands mall and surrounding area, looking at competition of who is there and potentially even convincing certain brand name stores who are there to move when their lease is up.
SEO, SEO, SEO as well as PPC
I'd use a flurry of activity, from direct mail (yes, snail mail), email and calls with a clear, creative message.
Since I've never done retail retail acquisition, I don't know how likely this is, but what about partnering with and incentivizing other commercial local real estate companies to sell leases?
Local events - I would think of SOMETHING and some way to get involved with local events (many, if not all are listed here: https://www.lakeconroesplash.com/special-events-festivals) and well as Houston events, which there are SO many.
Once one or two large retailers are signed, then it's open house time. Use a portion of the parking lot to have food vendors and festival fun, like music and promote stores that are there, inviting other potential store decision makers to come.
Then it's press release and press coverage time - bombard the local media with announcements, updates and growth!
As I said, I haven't spent time doing this. And, maybe there are people behind the scenes doing what they want or need to be doing. They have a video...which is so-so and a brochure. But there's no drive, push, passion by the real estate company or those running it locally. At least it doesn't look like it.
If the goal is fill that place back up again, I'd be going at full-speed with marketing activity to make it happen.