Finding New Uses For Old Parking Lots

One area not to overlook when looking to make a value-add commercial real estate investment, especially in the suburbs or rural areas, is to look at repurposing the parking lot. As we wrote before, if you’re looking to convert an office building into residential or another use such as a hotel, the amount of parking you need may drastically change.

One major corporation, I’ve always thought has invested almost too much money on parking lots in Wal-Mart. It seems Wal-Mart is coming to the same conclusion and is now looking to better use their massive parking lots. Dees Stribling has an article in BisNow, Walmart Plans To Redevelop Supercenter Land Into ‘Town Center’ Gathering Places, which highlights this change.

Walmart is planning to develop the land surrounding a number of store sites nationwide into town centers, or what it calls “reimagined centers.” The town centers will be located on land around Walmart supercenters that the retail giant considers underutilized.

Interestingly, it seems Wal-Mart is going to use the space to bring an almost experiential retail feel to the redeveloped space. Dees goes on to write.

The concept is flexible and will include the addition of restaurants, health clinics, day care establishments, gas stations, bowling alleys, food trucks, bike rental stations and driving ranges.

For example, the plan for a reimagined center in Loveland, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, calls for a two-phase development plan that will introduce new food, wellness and entertainment options to the site.

Walmart hasn’t released a lot of details about the specific tenants at the Loveland site, though it does say that Torchy’s Tacos, Wahlburgers and Wake & Bake will be among the food tenants. One of the entertainment features of the reimagined center will be a skatepark.

This is definitely a smart move by Wal-Mart as they look to continually redevelop themselves for today’s consumers’ preferences. Many real estate investors, can keep this strategy in mind as they look to redevelop older office buildings or retail complexes.