Despite the tough times in the retail world, Lockehouse Retail Group has managed to grow during the past few years.
The firm, which bills itself as the largest retail-focused brokerage firm in the Bay Area, is adding an investment sales division that will focus on a variety of commercial property types. San Mateo-based Lockehouse hired the brother-and-sister team of David Kram and Rachel Kram to lead that effort.
“Retail is not dying,” said Steve Cutter, who founded Lockehouse in 2005. “There’s a huge perception that we’ve been over-retailed for a long time, but (merchants) are never going to survive without brick and mortar retail… It’s a healthy shift that’s happening. In the long run it’s going to be good.”
Both Krams previously worked for Arroyo & Co. David Kram worked in the wine business before veering toward real estate and completing $650 million worth of retail sales. Rachel Kram earned a doctorate in Latin American studies from the University of Arizona and worked as an academic and nonprofit executive before becoming a broker.
Even though property values have gone up, investors are still interested in acquiring properties, he said.
The firm, which has focused on retail leasing and development, expects to work with investors looking for deals in the Bay Area and out-of-state. Grocery-anchored shopping centers are still high in demand as stable sources of cash flow, Cutter said.
Meanwhile, Lockehouse has spent years working with retailers that are expanding such as Target, Sports Basement, Sprouts and the Habit Grill. The firm is helping developers including Hines, Hanover Co. and Lennar Multifamily that are building apartments in Oakland to lease up their ground-floor retail spaces.
“We’re huge believers in what’s going on in (Oakland). There’s certainly growing opportunity for retailers,” Cutter said. “Oakland is becoming a great retail destination.”