Too much demand, not enough supply

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In the world of supply and demand for real estate in Fairfield County, there is now a lot of demand, but not enough supply.

“The first and second weeks of March were dead due to the pandemic,” Lisa Daniel, broker for Ripco Real Estate in Greenwich, told the Business Journal. “But since then, it’s like turning off the lights, especially as more people are getting vaccines.”

Despite the fact that “there is not a lot of inventory,” Daniel said, “homeowners are willing to bargain to get things done, while tenants look for space and find that there is not enough.”

Perhaps the unexpected development was the growth of the grocery store market. Even with online grocery shopping on the rise, according to Coresight Research, about 60% of US consumers do so, and about the same percentage expect to continue shopping online after the pandemic. grow.

“During the downtime, people realized that they knew how to cook – I did it!” she was laughing.

At the Danbury Fair Shopping Center, work is underway on the construction of chain restaurants Longhorn Steakhouse and Shake Shack.

In addition to the recent Aldi and Mike’s Organic openings at Fairfield in Stamford and another planned in Greenwich, Daniel said the “small boutique market,” which covers 4,500 square feet in Stamford, “is about to relocate. They want to double their space because they cannot meet the demand, so they want to move. ” She refused to name the grocer.

On the other hand, restaurants are still struggling – not so much because of Covid restrictions, but because of recruiting, which is hampering companies in almost all sectors. A pizzeria in Newtown, Gino’s Parlor of Sandy Hook, has postponed its opening for several weeks – it had a soft opening on August 2 – and is still looking for chefs, according to owner Artie Praino.

Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said the sector is still shrinking by about 20,000 jobs, up from 160,000 before the pandemic. Blue Cactus Grill recently closed in Fairfield due to labor shortages.

“It will be interesting to see how restaurants deal with the Delta option,” Daniel said. “They may need masks inside again.”

Dolch said members of his association are not interested in asking patrons for proof of vaccination. “The last thing we want is to try to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do,” Dolch told Fox 61.

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The al fresco dining was something of a godsend, and the experience with tents and other outdoor activities last winter might come in handy again this year.

“Cities are becoming more flexible” in providing additional space, Daniel said. “There is a cafe in Armonk that wanted to add 30 to 40 seats on the street. Two years ago, the city officials would have said no, but instead they got through without too many problems. ”

Despite this, chain restaurants Longhorn Steakhouse and Shake Shack are under construction at Danbury Fair.

Health and fitness clubs also thrive in the area, Daniel said, and over the past few months, Ripco has helped several franchise companies negotiate leases, including StretchLab in Fairfield and Yoga Six in Eastchester.

“They all have done a tremendous job of maintaining cleanliness, erecting walls and other measures beyond the state’s requirements,” she said.

Regarding the potential business impact of the Delta option, Daniel said, real estate brokers are guessing along with everyone else.

“It’s pretty amazing what a year it has been. But now the demand is still very high and there are not many reserves. “



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