Tennessee center to get new owner and new image
The willow is associated with weeping, and the appearance of WillowTree Plaza in Cookeville, Tennessee, is certainly sad by modern standards. But now the center near Tennessee Tech University has a new owner and, soon, will get a new look.
Boca Raton-based Fimiani Partners has purchased the 110,000-sq.-ft. center for $4.2 million and plans to invest in a new roof, a repaved parking lot, and a new paint job for Willow Tree.
“Willow Tree Plaza’s close proximity to Tennessee Tech and Cookeville Regional Medical Center makes it an appealing location for retailers,” said Fimiani President Mike Fimiani.
Tenants at Willow Tree include Save A Lot, Harbor Freight Tools, Aaron’s and Family Dollar.
New Market closes on 34th center
Formed just three years ago, an aggressive acquirers of grocery-anchored centers has purchased its 34th property.
New Market Properties, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Preferred Apartment Communities, has acquired Irmo Station, a Kroger-anchored center in Columbia, South Carolina. The company targets high-yield suburban markets in Texas and the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions and market-leading grocery anchors such as Publix, Kroger, and HEB.
“We are thrilled to partner again with Kroger on this high-sales-volume location, and we believe the tenants at Irmo Station will continue to benefit from the surrounding population with [average household] incomes of over $82,000," said New Market CEO Joel T. Murphy.
The company reports having closed on $330 million in retail real estate during 2016.
Department store retailer plans $40 million investment in remodels, new stores
Not all department store retailers are closing stores.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Belk said it plans to open three new stores, part of a nearly $40 million investment in store remodels, capital improvements and new store openings in 2017.
The first two of the new stores will open on October 11, 2017, at Mullins Colony shopping center, Evans, Georgia, and at Greenwood Mall, Bowling Green, Kentucky. The third store will open in 2018, at Valley Mall Hagerstown, Maryland. The new stores will focus on the customer experience through a variety of ways, including a "buy online, pick up in store" service, phone charging stations and a service desk at the store entrance for quick, convenient access to services such as gift wrapping, returns and Belk Rewards Card payments.
In 2017, Belk also plans to remodel 12 existing stores across its 16-state footprint, an investment of nearly $10 million. An additional $15 million in funding will be used for capital improvements such as parking lots, paint and roofing.
"We've been successful in making a personal connection between our brand and our customers," said Lisa Harper, CEO, Belk, which operates 292 stores. "Our customers truly believe they know us and we are a part of their community; and they feel Belk is their store. We want to provide that level of personal connection in every community we enter."
Harper, the former CEO of Hot Topic and Gymboree Corp., took the reins of privately owned Belk in July 2016, becoming the first one outside the Belk family to run the company. She succeeded the retiring Tim Belk, who had served as CEO of the chain since 2004.
Belk was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk. The long-time family-owned company was acquired by Sycamore Partners in a $3 billion deal at the end of 2015.