News

The suburbs are morphing into the urbs

BY Michael Fickes

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is repositioning its Moorestown Mall in suburban Moorestown, N.J., by bringing in tenants associated with urban life.

For instance, a number of new tenants include independent chef-owned restaurants like those found in urban edge neighborhoods.

The goal is to reposition the suburban mall with an urban environment.

Suburban Fairfax County, Va., has plans to urbanize suburban Tysons Corner, which balloons from a residential population of 19,000 to 100,000 residents plus commuting office workers every day. The idea is to build mixed-use properties that include residential, office, retail stores and restaurants to enable people to live, eat and shop where they work — and stay out of their cars.

Is this a trend? Yes, says the Urban Land Institute in a 2012 report called “Shifting Suburbs.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the report says that this trend dates back to the early 1990s. “…driven in part by powerful demographic forces, market preferences have been shifting. Signs point to an increasing appetite — especially among generation Y — for higher-density living patterns and for transportation options that include transit, walking and biking.”

That sounds like city-life, in the burbs. Urbs?


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News

Redevelopment Coup

BY Michael Fickes

WinCo Foods has agreed to develop an 85,000-sq.-ft. modern grocery store at Old Orchard Village East in Lewisville, Texas.

WinCo Foods, founded in Idaho in 1967, is an employee-owned discount grocery that operates 87 stores and plans to expand into Dallas-Fort Worth metro region with 15 new stores over the next several years.

The deal will take the Old Orchard Village East center from 60% leased to 100% leased and make it possible to carry out a $20 million transformational redevelopment.

The Weitzman Group, which leases the center, Cencor Realty Services, which manages the center and will carry out the redevelopment, together with the City of Lewisville hammered out the agreement with WinCo and other center retailers over a period of two years.

“It’s one of the most complicated deals I’ve ever seen,” said Herb Weitzman, chairman and CEO of The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty.

The deal will reduce WinCo’s business personal property tax by 50% and provide Cencor Realty with a 75% tax abatement in property taxes.

Negotiations covered the tax incentives ass well as deals with Tuesday Morning and Hancock Fabrics, who will relocate from the existing 100,000-sq.-ft. anchor space to make way for WinCo.

Other components of the deal involved renegotiating leases with other existing retailers. Leather Sofa, for instance, will downsize by eliminating a portion of its location. Negotiations also managed to resolve environmental issues connected to a neighboring property.

The redevelopment will demolish the existing anchor structure, replacing it with WinCo’s 85,000-sq.-ft. grocery store. In addition, the redevelopment will renovate and upgrade tenant signage and parking lots and provide new pylon signage and landscaping.

The existing center has some historical interest worth noting. Herb Weitzman led the original leasing effort for the center back in the 1970s. That effort brought in Kroger and one of the first Wal-Mart stores in the metro area as anchors for the center.

Wal-Mart left several years ago, relocating to a larger building. A 55,000-sq.-ft. Hobby Lobby, Tuesday Morning and Hancock Fabrics split up Wal-Mart’s former space, setting the stage for the next phase in the life of Old Orchard Village East: an extreme makeover.


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REAL ESTATE

Pep Boys acquires 17 L.A.-area Discount Tire Centers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Philadelphia – The Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack has acquired 17 Discount Tire Centers in Southern California from AKH Co. These 17 stores are located throughout the greater Los Angeles market, from Bakersfield to Orange County.

They will re-open on Sept. 12 as Pep Boys stores and provide full-service vehicle maintenance and repair, including brand-name and private-label replacement tires. According to the retailer, 75% of Los Angeles-area residents will live within three miles of a Pep Boys location once the stores are opened, with the new stores, Pep Boys has close to 150 stores in California and more than 750 locations nationally.

“We are excited to add these convenient service locations for customers and welcome new associates to the Pep Boys family,” said Pep Boys president and CEO Mike Odell. “We aim to grow in the neighborhoods where our customers live and work through the acquisition and development of Service & Tire Centers.”

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