5Qs for Inventrust’s Ivy Greaner on the company’s ‘3G’ strategy

Ivy Z. Greaner joined InvenTrust properties less than a year ago. But the 30-year industry veteran who’s held top jobs with FivePoint and Ram Realty, has made an immediate impact on the fortunes of this fast-growing company. She spoke with us about the “3Gs” that guide InvenTrust’s strategic direction.

With all the talk about retail sales declining and customer traffic diminishing, how has InvenTrust Properties’ portfolio been performing?
Four years ago we made a strategic decision to concentrate our portfolio on three elements. One, grocery or necessity-based tenants that drive traffic to the property; two, the market the asset is located in, and, three, income growth potential. We call this our “3G” approach: acquiring top grocery-anchored centers in markets with above-average demographics that are also in demand by retailers. All of these factors have contributed to decreased year-over-year vacancy rates and increased base rents.

What are some of the markets performing especially well for retail?
We have focused our portfolio on key markets from the D.C. metro through Virginia and North Carolina, greater Atlanta, coastal Florida and Orlando, to Texas, Denver and Southern California. These are markets that retailers want to be in, and many are reinvesting in their stores located in these markets with household income growing and population increasing.

How have store closures affected your centers?
We have not experienced the large vacancy percentages that enclosed mall owners have faced. Tenant mergers and bankruptcies have, in many cases, led to opportunities for us. For instance, At Westpark Shopping Center in Glen Allen, Virginia, in the Richmond metro area, Publix is in the final phase of building its newest store in the market. We are finalizing a redevelopment of this 30-year old property, including a façade rebuild, improved landscaping, parking lot repaving, and new LED lighting, and pylon signage.

Does InvenTrust have plans for more redevelopment projects?
Yes, we do. We have been involved in light redevelopment over the last few years, building on outparcels and completing some façade improvements. We have now begun a deeper dive into unlocking more value from our properties by assessing opportunities for increasing revenue and maximizing land use for the community. This could include expanded products types such as multifamily and office.

Do you find that sustainability has become a necessary component of redevelopment plans?
Absolutely. Our redevelopment plans will include sustainable practices across the board. We’ve established some important goals for reducing controllable energy usage. We are significantly upgrading our portfolio on a rolling basis with LED lighting and energy management systems. Smart irrigation has been incorporated as centers’ landscaping plans are overhauled. We are working to implement car charging stations in the appropriate markets, and waste recycling and diversion is put in place on all our new acquisitions. We are a proud member of GRESB, and we participate in their annual ESG [environmental, social and governance] assessment.