Everyone wants to be a “10”, and we are proud that, by essentially all measures, The Retail Connection is such. The quality of our team, clients, partners and platforms are all “10’s”. We are extremely appreciative of their invaluable contributions, which have led to our exponential growth and add up to the enterprise that we have become.
Our results over the last ten years say it all. We now have offices in four of the most vibrant business centers in the United States - Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Our 85 teammates make up the most talented real estate force in the industry. Our exceptional growth and success over the last decade is due to this outstanding group of individuals and the strong collaborations that our collective relationships have enabled. We represent over 250 retail and restaurant clients as well as 25 million square feet of projects, creating one of the strongest business foundations in the industry. These numbers have led to another set of very impressive numbers— over $5 billion dollars in transactions, 4+ million square feet in retail centers developed and acquired and another 3+ million square feet in our development | acquisition pipeline. Finally, our first decade has led us to 10 merchant banking investments, 3 of which resulted in IPO's; all adding up to very impressive results.
We have a lot to be thankful for over the last ten years, not the least of which is being based in Texas. The Lone Star State has been the nation’s fastest growing economy with unprecedented increases in jobs and population growth, adding 211,000 people to its ranks and 275,000 jobs in the last year. Dallas-Ft. Worth alone has added 132,000 new residents and as a result, the DFW population, currently at 6.7 million strong, is the country’s fastest growing metropolitan area. Our robust economy, healthy business atmosphere and favorable cost of living have created great demand by all retailers to establish and|or expand their presence in Texas. New retailers coming into Texas included Shake Shack, The Fresh Market, Protein Bar, Tom Ford and Explore Learning. New retail development projects are being announced regularly. As of September, DFW reached an occupancy rate of 90 percent, the strongest occupancy level since the pre-recession year of 2007. Similarly, Houston’s occupancy at 90.8 percent, Austin at 95 percent and San Antonio at 90.4 percent are all very strong numbers and a major reason why quality existing space is almost non-existent and a new retail development cycle is well underway.
The upswing of the development | redevelopment cycle has presented us with some terrific opportunities. Our shopping spree has continued with our most recent acquisition of a former 120,000 square foot Target in San Antonio and groundbreaking of our 700,000 square foot Village of Cumberland Park development in Tyler. On top of which, we have another three million square feet of new retail development and acquisitions that we are finalizing across Texas and our neighboring states. Despite the external pressures of government gridlock and foreign conflict, retail remains healthy, consumer spending continues to increase and we remain as optimistic as ever about our opportunities ahead.
Looking back at our first 10 years, collaboration and communication are the keys to why our numbers continue to compound so productively. Our team + our client partners = a perfect 10. We could not be more appreciative of each and every one of you and cannot wait for our next 10 years together.