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COVID-19 The Retail Impact in Greater Philadelphia

How the Coronavirus is affecting commercial real estate in the Greater Philadelphia Tri-State Region from our team of retail specialists

An unprecedented crisis is facing our region and the globe.

Our brokerage teams are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving market trends throughout the Greater Philadelphia Tri-State region. Our retail strength is built upon years of experience supporting our clients through a multitude of cycles. We will keep you up to date on what we are seeing and continually update our insights to ensure you have the most relevant and practical advice you need to weather this crisis.

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In the Market

Lease deals that were in progress appear to be still moving forward but those with tight opening deadlines could be pushed back. To be expected, we are seeing a slowdown in new activity as many retailers are taking a wait and see approach as most are dealing with closed stores and out of work employees - a temporary situation we hope. With the exception of businesses that have been deemed “essential” i.e. grocery, home improvement, gas stations, select big box stores and restaurants (offering take-out only), the majority of retailers are temporarily closed as shoppers must heed stay-at-home orders.

The shutdown of the commercial construction industry coupled with what will be a delay in the receipt of city, state and municipal approvals will most certainly lengthen the timelines for new store openings.

We anticipate that the new "normal" due diligence periods for recently executed lease and sale agreements will be extended due to the interruption of third-party services such as appraisals and inspections.

Bright Spots

Online sales will help to mitigate some of the losses to omni-channel retailers. Since most are working from home, in non-business attire, with limited access to non-essential food stores and no access to gyms and entertainment centers, sales of baking, crafting, fitness equipment and leisure wear have increased.

Retailers have been reacting quickly to diversify and adapt their range of services - a practice that may serve them well longer term. Restaurants who had not offered online ordering, home delivery and curbside pickup may see demand for these services continue to be popular when the physical locations open back up. Service providers are taking their offerings virtual and gym classes are popping up on Zoom.

In Philadelphia, a COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund has been established and we expect more resources as stimulus and relief packages work their way through Congress.

Final Throughts

Every business is unique and no one prediction applies. Now it is more important than ever to stay connected, by sharing our knowledge we hope to help you best navigate your path through this market disruption.

Now is the ideal time to pick up the phone, call your favorite broker, talk and strategize. As a firm entering its 100th year locally, we have seen upheavals of the market before and have valuable guidance for repositioning for both tenants and landlords. In the coming days we plan to check in personally to hear your challenges and strategize on the solutions that will accelerate your success going forward.

We also want to make you aware of a new weekly webinar offered by Colliers U.S. Retail that will bring on experts to discuss and help better navigate this situation. Review our first call's slide deck and register for part 2 which will be held Wednesday April 1 at 11:30 EST.

From the Colliers Greater Philadelphia Retail Division be well, and be safe. It is our privilege to partner with you.

Call us. Let us know what you are seeing, and how we can continue to support your business.

View all Philadelphia COVID-19 updates 

Related Experts

Michael Barmash

Senior Managing Director | Philadelphia


Michael joined Colliers in 1973.  He has been involved in the leasing and sale of industrial, office and retail real estate in the tri-state area, particularly in the Philadelphia CBD.

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Todd Sussman

Senior Managing Director | Philadelphia


Todd joined Colliers in 2006 and specializes in the sale and leasing of retail properties in the Tri-state area. Todd frequently consults and works closely with developers to identify and acquire key properties throughout the region. Retail and mixed use development, site selection, negotiation, acquisitions, strategic planning, disposition of properties for national retailers are a few of the skills Todd has performed over the years.  Todd also collaborates and develops retail development strategies for retailers throughout the Tri-state area. 

Todd has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of commercial real estate including but not limited to: 

• Asset Management of Apartments, Hotels and Retail Properties

• Brokerage - Leasing and Sales, Management/Training

• Investment properties 

• Development and repurposing of properties

During his tenure at Colliers, Todd has provided creative, strategic solutions to area landlords and shopping centers and brought his expertise to tenants looking to expand, relocate, contract or optimize locations across the region. His understanding of the development process from conceptualization to completion benefits the retail clients and developers he represents.

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Larry Steinberg

Senior Managing Director


Laurence Steinberg joined Colliers in April 2019 to lead and further grow the Urban Retail division in Philadelphia. Larry has an extensive 25-year plus career in commercial real estate that includes development, consulting and brokerage. Prior to joining Colliers, Larry headed up the Retail group at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors (RRA), served as an Executive Vice President with CBRE (FAMECO), a Principal of Michael Salove Company, and as a Partner in L.S. Powell Company, where he developed over one million square feet of commercial real estate.

For over a decade, Larry has brokered deals with acclaimed restaurateurs, premier restaurant chains and national retailers in the Philadelphia area. He has represented Morton’s Steakhouse for all of their Philadelphia and surrounding area locations, including their highest grossing unit at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. Larry has worked closely with Philadelphia restaurant luminaries such as Stephen Starr, Jose Garces, Marc Vetri, Kevin Sbraga, Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov.

Larry’s retail presence can be seen throughout Center City. He was successful in bringing national retailers to Philadelphia such as H&M, The North Face, Cole Haan and West Elm. Recent noteworthy transactions include the first Target store in Center City and deals for Warby Parker, Theory, Madewell, Under Armour, a 26,000 square foot Walgreens flagship store, and a 40,000 square foot Nordstrom Rack.

In addition to leasing, Larry has brokered the sale of important retail properties, including nine buildings along Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square. Most recently he represented the Seller for the sale of 1330 Chestnut Street, 1529 Walnut Street, and 1700 Chestnut Street.

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Jon Kieserman

Sr. Vice President


Jon Kieserman joins Colliers as a retail leader with over 26 years in the retail business and 20 specializing in retail tenant and landlord representation. Retail is in his blood. Prior to his career in real estate Jon was a tenant himself, leading a family-owned 16 store regional retail operation. Jon began his career in 1997 at Hirshand & Company. In 2004, he was instrumental in the formation of Kohler Group Commercial Real Estate which merged into Fameco Real Estate, the Philadelphia region’s leading retail brokerage firm specializing in retail real estate and the shopping center industry.  Jon spent five years with CBRE as a First Vice President subsequent to the sale of Fameco Real Estate in 2013.

There is nothing Jon enjoys more than rolling up the sleeves and coming together as part of a team with a client to share creative off-market or out-of-the box solutions that succeed in today’s rapidly evolving retail landscape. 

Jon has provided retailer representation and/or disposition services for the likes of Walmart, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s, AutoZone, Wendy’s, Joyce Leslie, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pep Boys, Circuit City, Jiffy Lube and others. With over 3.5 MSF leased or sold throughout his career and a roster of national tenants, Jon provides exceptional market knowledge and insight into retail in the Tri State region and beyond.

His personal approach is what clients remember long after the transaction - a true partner that is accessible, proactive and results driven.

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Jason Fox

Senior Vice President

Mount Laurel

As a Vice President of National Accounts with Brixmor, I managed all Real Estate transactions and related leasing activity (including but not limited to: sourcing and negotiating new deals, completing renewals, assignments, relocations, obtaining waivers/consents, collecting arrears, creating redevelopment plans, arranging portfolio reviews, etc.) for over 55 National/Regional Tenant accounts throughout a national portfolio  of 450+ Shopping Centers in over 40 states.  As a Senior Leasing Representative, I was  responsible for the leasing activity (negotiating renewals, new deals, relocations, assignments, etc.) of +/- 5 million square feet of grocery anchored Shopping Centers throughout Brixmor’s North Region, covering DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA & VA. 

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Rich Weitzman

Senior Vice President | Philadelphia


Rich joined Colliers International in 2011. He has 23 years of retail real estate brokerage and development experience with significant automotive project specialization. His responsibilities include marketing, strategy implementation, coordination and review of market research with a special emphasis on financial analysis and leading lease review/negotiations. His well-developed technical knowledge of the real estate process gives him a broad understanding of the important principles that must be incorporated into a transaction.

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Derek Zerfass

Senior Vice President | Allentown


Derek joined Colliers in 2006. He specializes in retail tenant, landlord, developer and investor representation and has 15 years years’ experience in the retail sector in the Lehigh Valley.  Derek has an in depth understanding and knowledge of the land development process and has completed in upwards of over 30 pad site deals in the last few years alone.  As a native of the area, he is an expert in local market conditions and recent transactions. This, combined with his entrepreneurial spirit and strategic negotiation skills, have made him a valued asset to his strong client base and a top producer.


Derek is a trusted advocate for the landlords, tenants and investors he represents. His focus is on the real estate outcome that best supports their business objectives and he possesses the expertise and commitment to deliver results.

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Scott Horner

Vice President


As a vital member of the Lehigh Valley team, Scott’s concentrations are Tenant and Landlord representation in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area where he has lived and worked for over 30 years. He specializes in retail and restaurant uses and offers exclusive tenant, landlord, developer and investor representation services.

Scott excels in location searches that meet  the strict requirements of major retailers. His understanding of the demands of national tenants, balanced with the dynamics of the local market again comes to bear as he helps successfully navigate deal negotiations for his clients.  

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Seth Lacey

Vice President


Seth joined the Colliers Lehigh Valley retail team in 2018 to provide tenant, landlord and investor representation services through-out Eastern & Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

He is a native of Birdsboro, PA (Berks County) and currently lives in the Lehigh Valley. As such, he has a solid understanding and familiarity with activity in the market. Clients benefit from his youthful entrepreneurial mindset, extensive market knowledge and his successful track record working with, and negotiating for high networth owners, entrepreneurs and businesses.

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Evan Steinberg

Vice President | Retail


Evan is a Vice President specializing in retail leasing and investment sales for Colliers, working as tenant and landlord representation for various retailers, restaurants, and commercial property owners in Center City Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Evan has extensive experience closing deals for center city restaurants, fast food and fast casual restaurants, franchised concepts, car washes, and pad sites. 

He is responsible for developing market roll-out and expansion strategies for retailers and restaurants, site/prospect identification and evaluation, and Letter of Intent and Lease negotiations. In addition to working with many smaller, local operators and franchisees, he has worked on the expansions of larger national concepts across the Greater Philadelphia Region. 

As a landlord representative, he has assisted property owners in leasing retail space including existing buildings, shopping centers, redevelopments and ground-up developments ranging from a few hundred to over one hundred thousand square feet. The ability to effectively market sites through Colliers national reach has enabled Evan to find prospects and negotiate leases with many unique and successful tenants for his listings and landlord clients. 

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