During a time when many landlords have been forced to scale back amid the struggling retail environment, Tarrytown, N.Y.-based DLC Management Corp.—a national owner and operator of open-air shopping centers—continues to aggressively look for new opportunities.
Although it acquired Whiterock Marketplace in Garland, Texas, nearly 10 years ago—in July 2000—the center is undergoing a redevelopment/repositioning, and DLC has secured leasing deals with many major tenants.
DLC, whose holdings include a portfolio of 96 open-air shopping centers totaling more than 16,500,000 sq. ft. in 25 states, has fared well during this climate because unlike ground-up developers, the company’s assets are financed long term, and it maintains the capital to retrofit existing spaces to accommodate top tenants.
“Since there have been less new ground-up developments due to the economy, many retailers planning to enter them couldn’t, because they never happened,” said executive VP/director of leasing Michael Cohen. “This benefited companies like us—retailers shifted gears and started to take another look at existing properties.”
Ross Dress for Less, the latest anchor in the Whiterock Marketplace redevelopment, is an example of this growing trend.
“Ross has looked at new developments with the right co-tenants, but there wasn’t an option for them to go into a brand new spot here,” Cohen said.
Ross joins Home Depot, Marshalls, Anna’s Linens and Big Lots as co-anchor tenants and occupies the majority of a 60,000-sq.-ft. former Tom Thumb supermarket on the site. As part of the transaction, DLC structured a lease termination with Safeway, Tom Thumb’s parent company.
“We determined that, in the best interest of the property, its co-tenants would be better served through dividing and redeveloping the former grocery space to attract more than a single retailer,” Cohen said. “The supermarket had been at the center for many years, and it elected to consolidate in this region and closed the store.”
DLC executed a new lease for 30,000 sq. ft. with Ross Dress for Less, which is now open at the site. The company is currently working to fill the remaining space.
With a population of 400,000 people within five miles, DLC wanted to make Whiterock Marketplace a destination spot for locals.
“It doesn’t have the draw of a regional mall that may attract shoppers from 30 miles away, but it does have a strong presence in the community,” Cohen said.
“By providing national names that people come to frequently—and now with Ross on the list—this makes the center a real shopping destination.”
DLC recently upgraded and improved the storefront design of its Marshalls to appeal not only to shoppers but also to potential tenants.
“By adding Ross and giving Marshalls’ facade a renovation, we have positioned the center to attract additional apparel retailers,” Cohen said. “We have since signed Simply Fashions, PCX Clothing and have a pending deal to fill the remaining space.”
Cohen said DLC is in the process of negotiating a lease with a regional junior department store to complete the redevelopment of the grocery box.
“After this deal comes to fruition, we expect to announce the signing of several new in-line tenants, as well,” Cohen said.