Last year, around this time, I wrote a message about being prepared during times of uncertainty. Little did I know then how prophetic those words would really be during 2016. And now, as we cautiously welcome 2017, we face even greater uncertainty in our industry—and the country as a whole. So, being prepared is even more critical today than it was a year ago.
As we look back on 2016, we have faced many challenges. We’ve weathered an unstable economy, low oil prices, and community unrest. We lost a beloved Stirling Properties employee. We experienced unprecedented flooding in our region that killed 13 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses. Several of our own retail centers and multi-family properties in Southeast Louisiana were significantly damaged. But, through it all, we have persevered.
Amidst all of the trials, Stirling Properties has made significant progress during the last year as we continue to grow and build on the comprehensive services and value that we bring to our clients and communities across the Gulf South region.
- We, along with partners CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., celebrated the grand opening of Ambassador Town Center, a 430,000-square-foot retail center in Lafayette, Louisiana. It was 100% leased within 6 months of development! Anchor tenants include Costco Wholesale, Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream, and Nordstrom Rack.
- We completed the development of Stirling Bossier—the last of 6 planned phases—in Shreveport. The 682,000-square-foot hybrid retail center is now 100% leased. Anchor tenants include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and ULTA Beauty.
- We broke ground on the new Offices at River Chase in Covington and announced the 1st tenant, Duplantis Design Group, PC. We also announced that Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar will be joining the River Chase mixed-use development later this year.
- We welcomed Whole Foods Market to Premier Centre in Mandeville, Louisiana, marking the 1st Northshore location for the popular upscale grocer. Whole Foods Market, along with Forever 21 Red, re-tenanted the space occupied by the former Albertson’s grocery store.
- We announced the development of a new mixed-use medical facility in LaPlace, Louisiana. Phase I of this development includes a lease to Ochsner Clinic Foundation for a roughly 20,000-square-foot freestanding emergency room and diagnostic center that is scheduled to open in the summer of 2017. This is just the beginning of our planned diversification strategy into healthcare.
- After many years of discussion, we announced The Home Depot is joining the tenant line-up at Hammond Square. This is the first location for The Home Depot in Tangipahoa Parish. Construction commenced late last year and the store plans to open by late 2017.
- We transformed the 1st floor of the Pan American Life Center in New Orleans and secured retail options such as Starbucks and Tsunami. We also welcomed Morris Bart Attorneys At Law to the center.
- We relocated our New Orleans office to the Pan American Life Center. This move is more representative of Stirling Properties’ future than just a new office. It demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the city, the region, and to the future, as we continue to build our brand.
In difficult circumstances, preparation and leadership are vital to an organization. Over the past year, I have witnessed first-hand how well our Stirling Properties team can come together to respond to crisis and uncertainty. What we have successfully overcome—and achieved!—this year, gives me the utmost confidence in our leaders and employees moving forward.
The financial market, unemployment, tax reform, a new Presidential administration—you name it—there’s still much uncertainty in the year ahead. There’s a lot of unknowns and “what if’s.” But as the saying goes, “When nothing is sure, anything is possible.”
With that in mind, Stirling Properties is embracing the unknown, thinking towards possibilities. We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline for 2017. We’ve laid out some lofty goals for the year ahead. We will continue to diversify our services, explore new areas of growth, and expand our client base.
Who knows what obstacles we may face, but I know we have the right team in place to succeed. As we embark upon the unknown, I am more confident than ever that we are prepared to take advantage of any, and all, opportunities that may come our way.
So, let’s celebrate a year of uncertainty and infinite possibility!