Retail Shopping Centre Management Teams – Choosing the Right Roles and People to Suit the Property

When it comes to the management of a larger retail shopping centre, the complexity of property management tasks are sometimes overwhelming when you consider all the bases that need to be covered by one individual or centre manager. This is where the centre manager more effectively becomes the point of decision and coordination at the top of the well-chosen centre management team.

The skills within the retail centre management team in a large shopping centre are quite diverse and complex. A retail property is a find balance between tenants, landlord, customers, and the community. The centre manager is the key to making the equation work.

Here are some ideas to help you with the structure of the centre management team and the tasks that are undertaken:

  1. The shopping centre manager should be at the head of the total team and everyone should report to the centre manager on a regular and agreed basis. This reporting process can even be on a daily basis given that shopping centres are very active and busy places. The shopping centre manager is ultimately responsible for the income for the property, the tenancy mix, the expenditure and outgoings for the property, building function and compliance, the marketing of a property, lease compliance and stability, and the integration of the property into the local community. Each month the shopping centre manager will put together the required reports for the landlord given the activities of each of the specialised staff members within the team.
  2. The marketing manager will oversee the marketing budget for the property and its integration into the tenancy mix and the sale requirements of the tenants. The marketing manager will also oversee the monthly sales results of the tenancies to identify any weaknesses in the mix. Each year the marketing manager should put together the annual marketing budget and report for the landlord; this budget will be administered by the marketing manager throughout the year, with the results of any special sales and promotional campaigns being tracked and reported on. This will have due regard to the needs of the community, the sale requirements of the tenants, and the income expectations from the current lease documentation.
  3. A tenant liaison officer will keep in close contact with all tenants on a daily basis. This person will be the first point of contact with any ordinary tenancy issues or maintenance matters. Should any issue be of significant importance, it should then be referred through to the centre manager for decision or reference through to the landlord. It should be said that the tenant liaison officer should be well chosen for their ability to communicate with tenants in a helpful and accurate way. The tenant liaison officer works closely with the lease administrator to ensure tenant compliance with lease occupancy.
  4. A lease administrator will oversee the compliance and implementation of all lease documentation. Any matters of breach of lease or unpaid rental should be quickly seen by the lease administrator and advised to the shopping centre manager. Any breaches of lease or concerns of lease occupancy should be well controlled so that the tenancy mix and the vacancy factors are well managed. The lease administrator is the person to protect the property income through accurate and enforced lease documentation.
  5. A building engineer or maintenance manager will monitor the daily performance and compliance of the property within the required occupancy and building codes. This person will also instruct and work with the maintenance contractors for the building. The building engineer or maintenance manager will have a budget of expenditure that applies to the mechanical plant and property performance; any maintenance approvals and activities should be addressed within the budget. Matters of property security, essential services compliance, and public safety should be high on the daily agenda of tasks for the building engineer or maintenance manager.
  6. Most centre management offices will have a receptionist at the front counter to serve and connect with the tenants and the customers visiting the on-site office. As the first point of contact, the receptionist should have a suitable friendly outgoing character, as well as sound and professional administration skills.

So these are the main people that you will find within the retail shopping centre team. In larger properties you may require further people to support these core roles.

It is easy to see that this diverse property management team will involve significant expenditure and operational costs. In most large shopping centres, the costs to run a property management team of this nature become a part of the building outgoings budget.