Thursday, June 19, 2008

Foot Spas in Cupertino or the Changing Face of Commercial Property

Had I not traveled to China in late 2005 with the CCIM Institute to look at commercial and residential investment property, I would not have the perspective that hit me last night. After a late appointment, two of my coworkers came to my office and proposed a pho (Vietnamese noodle) run. Sure, at 9pm, that always hits the spot...well maybe for some. So, down the street on De Anza Blvd, we went. After the huge bowl of broth and unknown meat pieces, someone suggested a foot massage. None of us thought the others would massage feet as well as the professionals (two competing locations) who just opened up in Cupertino in the last year. So five minutes to closing time at 10pm, we plopped down in the massage chairs. The experience was wonderful and cheap - don't pass this along or the prices will start to go up - think gas prices. $20 + tip for an hour and the massage was head to toe. All in an open room with twenty or so other customers. Very above board and professional. Now - what does this have to do with real estate???
Foot massage is rampant in China. Huge facilities are packed with customers. Would the mom and pop strip center owner in the South Bay have expected that a foot massage place be a viable tenant - let alone a reputable one? Other new tenants that are popping up: badminton facilities in warehouses, Pinkberry (sure it's from LA - but if you don't pay attention to trends...), which is usurping Tapioca Express pearl milk tea shops, Tofu Houses (this is lost on me as to how MANY are needed although I won't argue their popularity), and yes, the pho noodle shops (some even numbered because there are so many) - can I say "melting pot" without getting too much grief?
So, the moral of the story is: things change all the time, reading and traveling will keep you ahead of the curve, there are many who could have given guidance to all these trends - and all this is about real estate my dear people - not just 9pm cravings for broth and tired feet..:-)
And finally a shout out to the next unique tenants to open at the venerable Santana Row: Kara's Cupcakes & Boutique Harajuku - the first very yummy and the 2nd - suitable clothes for my daughter - maybe...

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