REAL ESTATE

Failure on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

BY Al Urbanski

The Museum of Failure is one of three new tenants at Hollywood & Highland, a shopping-entertainment-dining center that neighbors TLC (formerly Grauman’s) Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.

Immense failure and success is common in Hollywood, so it makes sense for the center’s newest attraction to sit alongside the internationally famous Walk of Fame. An import from Sweden, the Museum of Failure presents a collection of 100-plus marketplace flops like Bic for Her, the Segway, the hula chair, the Apple Newton, and President Donald Trump’s 1989 version of Monopoly.

Other new tenants at Hollywood & Highland are Foot Locker and Japan House of Los Angeles. A first in the U.S., Japan house is a multi-level cultural center which, when finished, will include an 8,000-sq.-ft. fine dining restaurant, a retail shop, and a gallery.

In-place tenants at the center include Hard Rock Café, American Eagle Outfitters, and Shoe Palace.

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Mall owner to acquire four Sears stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington Prime Group Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire four Sears stores in a sale-leaseback transaction.

Under the terms of the deal, whose purchase price was put at $28.5 million, Sears will continue to operate the properties (for a time) under new leases with Washington Prime, which will have control of the sites for future redevelopment. Aggregate base rent under these leases is approximately $1.25 million per year.

In addition, Sears will be responsible for paying common area maintenance charges, taxes, insurance and utilities. The four stores are located at Longview Mall, in Longview, Texas; Polaris Fashion Place, located in Columbus, Ohio; Southern Hills Mall, located in Sioux City, Iowa; and Town Center at Aurora, located in Aurora, Colorado. All four include adjacent Sears Auto Centers.

“When Washington Prime Group is presented with the opportunity to improve a Tier One asset via retrofit of an underutilized department store space, it is imperative we act accordingly,” said Lou Conforti, CEO and director, Washington Prime. “Sears will continue to operate these locations for a period of time that provides us with a suitable timeframe to evaluate the best adaptive reuse.”

Washington Prime said plans for the redevelopment of the four properties will be announced in the future.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Washington Prime will have the right to terminate each store lease under certain circumstances as stated in each lease. Termination cannot occur between November 1 of a calendar year and January 15 of the next following calendar year. In the event Sears decides to no longer operate these locations, the company will have the right to terminate the applicable lease upon 30 days’ prior written notice.

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Swim school concept launches national expansion

BY Al Urbanski

Only lately have in-line shopping center tenants come to the realization that the traffic drawn by fitness operations merit the parking spaces they take up. Now here comes a fitness concept whose staffers alone constitute a decent customer base for fellow tenants.

Forty swim instructors and three managers conduct 2,000 lessons a week at each of the four locations that Big Blue Swim School operates in Illinois. Former member of the U.S. national swim team Chris DeJong founded Big Blue with old friend John Lonergan in a mission to teach kids how to swim his way.

Special features of Big Blue schools are water that’s always 91-degrees and shallow throughout the pool, comfortable parent viewing areas equipped with WiFi, and toys and activities for waiting siblings. Swimmers get individual changing rooms.

With financial backing from Level 5 partners, DeJong and Lonergan have embarked on a plan to expand to Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Denver with 17 new locations by 2021. Their ultimate goal is 300 to 500 Big Blue Swim Schools nationwide.

“We’re about more than what a typical retailer can offer. We offer families easy access to a vitally important life skill which can’t be outsourced or purchased through the mail,” DeJong said.

Big Blue’s Illinois locations are in Wilmette, Niles, Buffalo Grove, and Hoffman Estates.

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