A Simple Guide To Finding the Best Retail Space - Part 1

It should come as no surprise to hear that Vancouver is a hotbed for commercial leasing. With plenty of options in and around the city, it’s important to keep a few things in mind before you sign on the dotted line. In part 1 of this 2-part series, we are going to focus on how to find the best retail space. 

Here are 5 tips from our VP – Shopping Centers, Lorraine Manson:

  1. Space research: have you explored all options of spaces that will suit your business needs? Are the location and the size of the space ideal, and does it include all the amenities you need? Pre-lease inspections are key to ensuring that you’re 100% comfortable with the space.
  2. The parking situation: is the parking lot large enough to serve your customers needs? A mid-to-large size restaurant in the suburbs may require a large parking lot versus a small brewery off of a busy main road. Second to that, double check if there is parking for staff or public transportation nearby for them to use.
  3. Proximity to transit: Depending on your target market, does having your store front near transit make a difference on the success of your business? A pizza parlor near a Skytrain station would say yes, but a high-end jeweler would probably disagree.
  4. What’s nearby: If your goal is to attract a lot of foot traffic to your business, carefully research the area to see if there are popular parks, well-known businesses, and restaurants that will help attract shoppers to your store. There should also be a certain level of synergy between tenants on the property, so take some time to understand the other businesses in the mall/strip center.
  5. Sizing up the competition: who are the competitors in your area? Are they doing well in that market and is there enough room for both of you to succeed? A competitor analysis will help you understand what they’re doing right or wrong and how you can use that to your advantage.

Once you've taken these points into careful consideration, you will then ready to move on to the legal side of leasing space. Part 2 of this series will focus on what comes after you find your space, including: understanding lease terms, reviewing rent and budget requirements, and ensuring your timeline is realistic. Check out part 2 of our guide here.


We manage a broad range of retail properties and work on behalf of property owners to find the best tenants for their properties. We keep the owners best interests at heart, ensuring that their properties are taken care of and that their long term visions are achieved.