An empty store with a “for lease” sign in the window is of no value to a commercial real estate landlord. It usually means the retailer has moved or gone out of business — and the landlord is left with utilities and maintenance costs.
Enter Inwindow Outdoor, a New York-based firm that works with landlords to convert empty retail windows into advertising displays as a way to offset revenue losses.
The company recently launched its first campaign in Atlanta using space in Underground Atlanta at 80 Upper Alabama St. — formerly Kid’s Profile, between Athlete’s Foot and Metro PCS.
The ad is part of a national campaign for Sony Pictures’ “2012” — a movie slated for release in November. The window display will run through Tuesday.
Inwindow is in 18 markets; 10 were added since 2006, including Atlanta, said Ray Lee, managing director of real estate. While business has been steady since the company was founded in 2002, it “really picked up” as the recession forced scores of retailers to close, Lee said.
Typically, a deal covers 20 percent to 25 percent of the asking rent, he said, giving landlords “a nice stream of income” on empty property.
“A lot of places in Atlanta are very attractive to us,” Lee said, including Buckhead and the area near Centennial Olympic Park downtown, which offers attractions along with high pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
Displays range from basic vinyl to interactive, incorporating technologies such as human motion detection, Bluetooth, touch screens and holograms to engage passers-by, the company said.
80 Alabama is part of the Underground portfolio managed by O’Leary Partners. More than 17,000 pedestrians a day pass the intersection of Alabama and Peachtree streets, Underground spokeswoman Michelle Lawrence said.
“This program is something we’d like to implement at our other properties,” Lawrence said. O’Leary also manages Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta and Golden East Crossing in Rocky Mount, N.C.
“There is no downside,” Lawrence said. “It’s a great opportunity for advertisers as well as the property management company and our visitors. It serves as additional revenue for us. You can certainly see people taking a look at it, see them checking it out.”
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