REAL ESTATE

1.5 million-sq.-ft. New Jersey mall to close

BY CSA Staff

When its last surviving tenant, Sears, closes in September, so too will the Marketplace at Burlington in New Jersey.

Once a strong regional draw in this town located between Trenton and Philadelphia, the former Burlington Center Mall owned by Moonbeam Capital LLC flourished with 1.5 million sq. ft. of retail. Now local government officials are left to seek a new use for this huge tract in the middle of their community.

“The site has become obsolete, meaning it no longer serves the retail market as an enclosed mall, and subsequently has become vacant and deteriorated,” Mark Remsa, Burlington County’s director of economic development, told NJ.com. “The site is ready for redevelopment.”

Under consideration are a mixed-use development including retail or a warehouse park.

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Mall vacancies hit seven-year high

BY Al Urbanski

The vacancy rate in United States malls hit 8.6% during the second quarter. That’s the highest it’s been since Q3 2011, when 9.4% of mall space went unoccupied.

Necessity-based strip malls, perhaps due to the rapid expansion of this growing retail sector, experienced their worst quarter in nine years, according to Reis, Inc.’s latest quarterly vacancy report. The vacancy rate in these centers hit 10.2%, equating to some 3.8 million sq. ft. of space.

The downtrend also extended to open-air centers. Vacancies increased at those properties in 55 of the 77 MSAs covered by the Reis report.

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Discount fashion chain in U.S. expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

A budget fast-fashion retailer with no online presence is expanding its U.S. portfolio.

Primark will open a location at King’s Plaza Mall in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday, July 7. The 57,900 -sq.-ft. store will feature women’s, men’s and children’s wear items along with home goods, beauty products and gifts.

Featuring a contemporary and upbeat design, the store will feature 56 fitting rooms and 42 registers, access to free WiFi and four customer recharge seating areas. Primark, a division of Associated British Foods PLC, is known for its on-trend family fashions and extremely low prices. The chain does not sell online, saying that selling online would not be cost effective given how low its prices are.

With the opening of the Brooklyn store, Primark will have nine locations in the United States, all in the Northeast. It plans to open two additional outposts later this year, with one at Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, Florida. The retailer, which has 352 stores throughout Europe, made its U.S. debut in 2015, in Boston.

In an interview with Reuters, AB Foods CEO George Weston said the company is “quietly encouraged” by what it is seeing so far with regards to Primark’s U.S. stores.

“We continue to learn … but it’s still very early days,” he said.

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