Scottsdale-based specialty real estate firm The Corritore Company, founded by John Corritore, is celebrating a major milestone—30 years in business. The specialty real estate firm was launched in 1988, on Mill Avenue in Tempe in the middle of a recession, when the landscape was filled with overbuilt, vacant spaces. Today the boutique firm is a major force locally and nationally, shaping major retail centers such as Kierland Commons, Desert Ridge Marketplace and The Waterfront; leading major national retail rollouts for brands such as Z Gallerie and Lucky Brand; and bringing a unique perspective to the real estate leasing industry.

“I feel fortunate to have had an effect on creating some of the most significant gathering places in the market that I live in,” Corritore says. “I’m happy that The Corritore Company has been recognized nationally for expanding retail brands throughout the United States, but I’m most proud of what I built in the Metro Phoenix area.  Since I live here too, I’m able to experience it with my family, and I’m able to watch other people enjoy and experience destinations I’ve helped create. It’s very gratifying.”

The Corritore Company brings a unique perspective to the industry, and over the past 30 years has seen the Valley’s population more than double as it helped shape the landscape that welcomed and supported its growth. Projects leased from the ground up include Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Quarter, Tempe Marketplace, Scottsdale Waterfront, Dana Park Village, Market Street at DC Ranch, Centerpoint, Scottsdale Renaissance, Casa Paloma, Westgate Entertainment District, Lincoln Scottsdale, Aspen Place (Flagstaff), Village at Arrowhead and Chauncey Ranch. The company is also currently wrapping up a re-merchandising and repositioning of The Shops at Gainey.

The company took two distinct directions that would ultimately help shape its future—as well as the Valley’s major retail centers. Its first project was a major one—leasing Tempe’s Mill Avenue (Centerpointe). The result was the creation of the thriving, vibrant destination it was in the mid 1990s. During this time, John Corritore had reached out to the owner of furniture and home décor company Z Gallerie, which at the time had only a few small stores in California. The goal had been to convince them to consider Arizona as an expansion market. That contact grew into a 25-year relationship, with John Corritore representing Z Gallerie in its national expansion into more than ninety locations coast-to-coast.

The work with Z Gallerie (92 locations) led to other national expansion retail clients, including Lucky Brand (55 locations), Brighton Collectibles (36 locations) and Joie (15 locations).

“It was the work that I did expanding and building brands nationally that became a point of difference for my company,” Corritore explains. “I was able to travel the country and see the most interesting and impactful shopping center designs and streets. That gave me the knowledge that very few local brokers had, and I was able to bring that back to Phoenix.”

In expanding those companies, Corritore found himself being pitched by landlords and developers who were hoping to land his clients for their own shopping centers. The experience of being on that side of the transaction he was then able to relay to how he wanted to best handle the leases of his own shopping center projects. That unique perspective of both sides of the industry, coupled with vision and innovative ideas, helped the boutique firm The Corritore Company to land prominent shopping center projects over larger firms—and led to its second major project, Kierland Commons.

“I wanted to do a streetscape format as a shopping center concept,” he explains of his initial thoughts on Kierland. “There were only three or four lifestyle centers in the country at the time. Instead, it was all strip centers. Other people here in the industry didn’t think it would work—but I had seen it work, and I knew that’s how people would soon prefer to shop.”

That vision to create spaces of the future, as well as customized centers with thoughtfully curated tenant mixes of retail and dining, have been cornerstones of The Corritore Company’s success. Each project is carefully planned and customized to ensure the right mix of tenants and to never compromise the integrity of the tenant mix.

“I work on few projects at a time, so that I can devote more attention and care in designing and developing the vision for the look and feel of the project.  It’s not just filling space but curating the right mix of restaurants, retailers, and specialty service tenants that will bring people together, provide a sense of community, and enhance the landscape of the area.  People can shop online or anywhere, it is the experience you provide that will make all the difference.”” 

As Corritore traveled around the country opening retail roll out locations, he studied how shopping destinations around the country were evolving. He brought those ideas, mixing them with his own innovations, to Valley projects. The result was unique, first-of-their-kind centers, and a solidification of The Corritore Company’s place in Valley history. 

Several new projects are in the works and will soon be announced, but The Corritore Company will bring its signature innovation to them.  

“We’re spending a lot of time incorporating and designing the shopping centers of the future, not the way it’s been done in the past, but with new innovative ideas. That’s our emphasis today—creating the best locations for tomorrow.”