That Mall is sick and that Store is dead!

April 27, 2005

“Re-imagining the mall”

Filed under: "coliseum mall" — Anita @ 2:50 pm

I was heartbroken to open up today’s Daily Press and read that another one of my childhood malls is reformatting:

17323196

Re-imagining the mall
In a few years, Coliseum Mall could begin its evolution into a town center with mixed uses.

BY JODY SNIDER
247-7874

April 27, 2005

HAMPTON — The owners of Coliseum Mall think their property – the first mall developed on the Peninsula – has to start changing into the next big thing. They plan to do away with the 32-year old mall and develop a “town center” that would hold even more retail stores, plus residential condominiums, office buildings and possibly a hotel, Hampton officials said Tuesday.

Hampton Mall Associates plans to invest more than $200 million to turn Coliseum Mall into a town center, said Terry O’Neill, chief planner for Hampton.

The reinvention is a part of a national trend that has mall owners looking for solutions that will revive older properties like Coliseum Mall. Owners of similar older malls across the country are also looking for more shop-appeal for their older properties.

On 75 acres, Coliseum Mall currently has 89 tenants that employ 1,250 workers. A town center development, others of which are already being developed in the area, is defined as offering retail, professional offices, apartments or condominiums and civic services. Residences and offices are typically located among retail storefronts.

In its early days, the mall made the Coliseum area a vibrant shopping area on the Peninsula. In recent years, however, that area and the city have shown a sharp decline in taxable retail sales. As a result, the city last year announced that it had hired Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates to redesign the mall, as a part of an overall improvement plan for the city.

That early design included keeping several of the current buildings and using outdoor entries in to each of the buildings. The redesign of the mall is part of an effort to resurrect the Coliseum area as the city’s premier shopping and entertainment district. Although some of the early designs remain, the new town concept is an evolution that includes mixed uses. The redevelopment of the mall could begin in two years.

The property is already zoned for mixed-use development, city officials said.

Talks between the city and the mall owners began a few months ago, but city officials have not yet seen a model or plan of the proposed project, O’Neill said.

However, James Eason, director of economic development for Hampton, said the town center concept would keep one building while eliminating the rest of the current mall. Although jobs with current tenants at the mall would be lost in the redevelopment of the town center, Eason said there would be greater job opportunities with the newer retail offerings than what is currently available.

He said many of those people could be re-employed with new job opportunities.

Eason said the mall owners plan to present the town center concept to national retailers at a Las Vegas convention in May at the International Council of Shopping Centers. The annual convention is a place for developers to showcase offerings to retailers looking for markets to move into.

The presentation at the Las Vegas convention should help Hampton Mall Associates gauge national retailers’ interest in the proposed project, said Joel Rubin, a public relations spokesman for the mall owners.

“It will be a significant project, but there are no final figures and nothing has been finalized yet,” Rubin said. “The owners of the mall and the city are still in serious discussions about what to do with the site. Nothing is definite.”

O’Neill said a marketing study would be done to determine what the scale and the components of the project should be for the Hampton area. “We’re not sure of the square-footage yet,” O’Neill said. “We’re not sure what part of the mall stays or what part goes. The Las Vegas convention will give us an idea of retailers’ response. It will provide the meat on the bones for this idea.”

Coliseum Mall
Owners: Hampton Mall Associates
Opened: 1973
Anchors: Burlington Coat Factory, Hecht’s, JC Penney
Number of stores: 89
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sundays
Web site: coliseummall.com

Wellworth Cleaners (Dead 2003)

Filed under: dead stores — Anita @ 3:32 am

Wellworth Cleaners (Dead 2003)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Aw, the Wellworth Cleaners on Jefferson Ave in Newport News, VA. I loved, loved, loved this Shirt Laundriers mural on the wall there.

Wellworth went out of business (without telling anyone apparently, up until last year people’s dry cleaning was still in the store) in 2003, and in 2004 the wall was painted over poorly by some party store, I think.

I took this pic in 2002, and in 2004 I printed one out and gave it to my Art History teacher. She thought it was cute.

April 22, 2005

Last month, I stumbled upon the Hills Department S…

Filed under: dead chains,dead stores — Anita @ 5:01 am

Last month, I stumbled upon the Hills Department Store Fan Site , and told the webmaster that I had an image of the Hills that was only open for a year and a half in Hampton, VA. So I shared it with him, and the article about the store closing in 1997:

http://www.hillsstores.com/Hampton.htm

Hills Closed, hampton, VA January 14, 1997//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Hills, Hampton, VA. Abandoned 1997.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Oh, Hills!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Hills didn’t even have a going out of business sale. They closed a few days after the article ran in The Daily Press. The store still stays vacant (as of 2003, the last time I was out there). I remember for some reason all the store’s carts were padlocked and chained to the sidewalk beside the store for a few weeks after the store closed.

Even if the store was only open for about 18 months, I still have some memories from the store. Nearly all the current Christmas decorations my mom owns were from Hills. We always bring up the store every Christmas when we break out the decorations.

There was this one time that the manager (I think) gave out free popcorn.

//edit, 2020//

This place finally had an At Home store move in around 2019. The whole shopping center has been remodeled.

April 5, 2005

"all of your shopping needs in one climate controlled building."

Filed under: other malls — Anita @ 4:14 am

The Apache Plaza Tribute Site

Nice little website about a mall in Minnesota that deceased in 2004.

April 3, 2005

Patrick Henry Mall to get a renovation

Filed under: patrick henry mall — Anita @ 8:42 pm

Set to start this month, the $25 million project will attempt to reflect the region’s colonial roots.

BY NOVELDA SOMMERS (Daily Press)
247-4767

Published April 3, 2005

NEWPORT NEWS, VA — Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News is shedding its 1980s image for a new style that will attempt to evoke the region’s colonial beginnings.

A $25 million renovation set to start this month will include a remodeled food court with a super-sized fireplace, hearth and mantle like you might see in a Colonial Williamsburg home, only more dramatic, with an 8-foot-wide mantle.

Early American-style sconces will grace pillars encased in rich, dark woods. New skylights will bathe the area in natural light, and cushy seats will invite shoppers to linger. Large chandeliers will have the look of giant colonial-era lanterns.

Still trying to place the ambiance? Think Williamsburg’s Merchants Square storefronts meet Norfolk’s MacArthur Center Mall.

“It will be a complete renovation: new floors, lighting, ceiling, restrooms,” said Michael Fenchak, mall asset manager. “We’re taking a 1980s mall to a current state-of-the-art property.”

The makeover comes as the region’s shoppers have more modern mall choices if they’re willing to drive about 80 miles. The region’s newest malls – Richmond’s Short Pump Town Center and Stony Point Fashion Center – were built in 2003. Short Pump departed from the traditional mall design with open-air shopping designed around a courtyard, and Stony Point’s high-end stores are grouped around two outdoor plazas.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust bought Patrick Henry in 2003 with the intention of updating it, said Cheryl Dougherty, vice president of marketing.

“It is one of the top performing assets in our portfolio,” Dougherty said. “We feel there’s still an upside in taking it to another level.”

Create Architecture Planning & Design, of New York City, is creating the mall’s look. The building contractors who will complete most of the work have not yet been chosen, mall officials said.

The mall is adding a new section that will include a Dick’s Sporting Goods store, a major national bookstore and a restaurant. Fenchak said he could not disclose the names of the bookstore and restaurant because the deals are not yet signed.

Dillard’s department store recently consolidated its two Patrick Henry stores, and where the empty store currently sits will be a number of small retailers forming a corridor leading to the new anchor stores, Fenchak said, adding that mall officials are not ready to announce the names of the stores.

Construction is expected to take place in three phases, with the bookstore and restaurant set to open before Christmas.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is scheduled to open in March 2006. The Pittsburgh-based sporting goods chain has 234 stores after its acquisition of competitor Galyan’s in July. The new store will sit between the mall and Interstate 64.

Dick’s stores are set up as a series of areas it calls “shops,” selling footwear, golf equipment, fitness and exercise gear and clothing.

According to its Web site, it carries brand names including Nike, Adidas, The North Face, Callaway, Taylor Made, and a store brand called Adirondack Trading Co.

The chain has stores at Lynnhaven Mall and Town Center in Virginia Beach, plus one at Short Pump.
-end-

I’ve been by Patrick Henry hundreds of times, and I have to agree that it does need renovating. The mall has no “theme” at all. It’s just mostly … white walls? The mall is doing really well, though. But I am a little anxious, because it seems that a lot of malls die after their renovation. I mean Newmarket North (Hampton, VA–I wrote a feature for this mall for deadmalls.com, and then I accidenty deleted the damn thing off my computer. I’m in the process of writing it again for this blog) had a renovation in 1990, and by 1992 half of the mall was closed.

The mall is adding a new section that will include a Dick’s Sporting Goods store, a major national bookstore and a restaurant.

Ohhh man, that might suck. There’s a really nice Barnes and Noble that has been in the area since the mid 1990’s and I really hope it doesn’t kill business.

I’m going to try my best to get down there this week and take “before” pics.

Patrick Henry Mall to get a renovation

Filed under: patrick henry mall — Anita @ 8:03 pm

Set to start this month, the $25 million project will attempt to reflect the region’s colonial roots.

BY NOVELDA SOMMERS (Daily Press)
247-4767

Published April 3, 2005

NEWPORT NEWS, VA — Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News is shedding its 1980s image for a new style that will attempt to evoke the region’s colonial beginnings.

A $25 million renovation set to start this month will include a remodeled food court with a super-sized fireplace, hearth and mantle like you might see in a Colonial Williamsburg home, only more dramatic, with an 8-foot-wide mantle.

Early American-style sconces will grace pillars encased in rich, dark woods. New skylights will bathe the area in natural light, and cushy seats will invite shoppers to linger. Large chandeliers will have the look of giant colonial-era lanterns.

Still trying to place the ambiance? Think Williamsburg’s Merchants Square storefronts meet Norfolk’s MacArthur Center Mall.

“It will be a complete renovation: new floors, lighting, ceiling, restrooms,” said Michael Fenchak, mall asset manager. “We’re taking a 1980s mall to a current state-of-the-art property.”

The makeover comes as the region’s shoppers have more modern mall choices if they’re willing to drive about 80 miles. The region’s newest malls – Richmond’s Short Pump Town Center and Stony Point Fashion Center – were built in 2003. Short Pump departed from the traditional mall design with open-air shopping designed around a courtyard, and Stony Point’s high-end stores are grouped around two outdoor plazas.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust bought Patrick Henry in 2003 with the intention of updating it, said Cheryl Dougherty, vice president of marketing.

“It is one of the top performing assets in our portfolio,” Dougherty said. “We feel there’s still an upside in taking it to another level.”

Create Architecture Planning & Design, of New York City, is creating the mall’s look. The building contractors who will complete most of the work have not yet been chosen, mall officials said.

The mall is adding a new section that will include a Dick’s Sporting Goods store, a major national bookstore and a restaurant. Fenchak said he could not disclose the names of the bookstore and restaurant because the deals are not yet signed.

Dillard’s department store recently consolidated its two Patrick Henry stores, and where the empty store currently sits will be a number of small retailers forming a corridor leading to the new anchor stores, Fenchak said, adding that mall officials are not ready to announce the names of the stores.

Construction is expected to take place in three phases, with the bookstore and restaurant set to open before Christmas.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is scheduled to open in March 2006. The Pittsburgh-based sporting goods chain has 234 stores after its acquisition of competitor Galyan’s in July. The new store will sit between the mall and Interstate 64.

Dick’s stores are set up as a series of areas it calls “shops,” selling footwear, golf equipment, fitness and exercise gear and clothing.

According to its Web site, it carries brand names including Nike, Adidas, The North Face, Callaway, Taylor Made, and a store brand called Adirondack Trading Co.

The chain has stores at Lynnhaven Mall and Town Center in Virginia Beach, plus one at Short Pump.
-end-

I’ve been by Patrick Henry hundreds of times, and I have to agree that it does need renovating. The mall has no “theme” at all. It’s just mostly … white walls? The mall is doing really well, though. But I am a little anxious, because it seems that a lot of malls die after their renovation. I mean Newmarket North (Hampton, VA–I wrote a feature for this mall for deadmalls.com, and then I accidenty deleted the damn thing off my computer. I’m in the process of writing it again for this blog) had a renovation in 1990, and by 1992 half of the mall was closed.

The mall is adding a new section that will include a Dick’s Sporting Goods store, a major national bookstore and a restaurant.

Ohhh man, that might suck. There’s a really nice Barnes and Noble that has been in the area since the mid 1990’s and I really hope it doesn’t kill business.

I’m going to try my best to get down there this week and take “before” pics.

April 2, 2005

Dad Loves A Good Sale

Filed under: dead stores — Anita @ 7:36 pm

Google Images search results for “Bradlees”
…and don’t ask my why Lori Laughin is in some of the results.

This one’s my favourite. “Dad Walking At Bradlees”

I don’t really have any memories of Bradlees. I know was one in the Todd’s Center shopping center in Hampton, VA. But sometime in the late 80’s it was gone, it turned into a short lived FX Superstore, and then it the building was retrofitted into two buildings, and one building was a Big Lots (still there) and one was a Service Merchandise (left in 2000). A local art supply store; Paul’s Arts and Crafts bought the store, and they’ve been there sine 2001 or 2002. When I found out that the whole chain was going out of business in 2000, I said to myself “I thought Bradlees went out of business years ago!”

April 1, 2005

“This place has really gone downhill.”

Filed under: newmarket fair mall — Anita @ 8:01 pm

An article I found recently on finditva.com (I found it using my old library card from when I lived in Hampton) about my personal dead mall, Newmarket North/Newmarket Fair (now called Netcenter) in Hampton, VA:

A MALL REBORN AFTER STRUGGLING AS RETAIL, HAMPTON’S NEWMARKET FAIR HAS NEW LIFE AS OFFICE SPACE; JENNIFER GOLDBLATT, STAFF WRITER
Virginian Pilot (Norfolk) 04-02-2000

A MALL REBORN AFTER STRUGGLING AS RETAIL, HAMPTON’S NEWMARKET FAIR HAS NEW LIFE AS OFFICE SPACE
Byline: JENNIFER GOLDBLATT, STAFF WRITER
Edition: FINAL

Section: BUSINESS
Memo: Staff researcher Diana Diehl contributed to this report.

HAMPTON —

By 10 o’clock weekday mornings, Newmarket Fair’s parking lot is so packed that it would draw envy even from MacArthur Center.

But inside, most of the shopping is confined to Sears Roebuck & Co., where racks bloom with the pastel suits and blouses of the spring collection. A few shoppers peek out of Sears’ mall entrance and spot a fitness center, an abandoned drugstore, and faded purple- and-teal metal hangings dangling over a sea of ripped-out storefronts.
Most turn on their heels, but Tom Mcalhany ventures into the mall.

“I just want the exercise,” he says. “This place has really gone downhill.”

Newmarket Fair, crowned 26 years ago as the Peninsula’s first enclosed mall, is being recycled as an office complex with enough retail to serve workers’ needs. Decimated by bankruptcies and squeezed by competition, the mall is being reborn as Newmarket Center.

The plan is to bring in more office users, move the 37 remaining retail tenants closer to the office space, and sign up new tenants to provide services such as day care and dry cleaning for the office workers.

This is the largest such conversion in Hampton Roads. At 574,000 square feet, Newmarket Center is about as big as Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach. The center is one of a handful of opportunities that Virginia Beach developer Gerald Divaris sees nationwide, as bankruptcies and shifts in retail leave vast empty shells.

With free parking, ample space and maybe a government incentive or two, more and more retail washouts are finding new life as places to work rather than places to shop.

“This will no longer function as a retail mall,” said Jim Perkins, a project manager with ESG Properties, the Virginia Beach-based real estate development company that owns the property and is led by Edward Garcia. “You can’t force an issue; you’ve got to go with what the market will bear.

“That,” he said, pointing to Rouse Tower, the 12-story “B” class office building across Mercury Boulevard, “that’s our competition now.”

When baseball great Ted Williams cut the ribbon on Newmarket North in fall 1975, the $35 million project was hailed as Tidewater’s “first two-tiered mall,” boasting the area’s largest Sears, at 240,000 square feet, and Miller & Rhoads, at 123,000 square feet, and a Leggett department store that spanned 120,000 square feet.

It was a joint venture between the Hahn Co., a San Diego-based developer, and a Nashville-based insurance company.

Together with 18-year-old Newmarket South Shopping Center across the street, it was “the largest high-fashion retailing center” in Virginia.

By 1987 the outlook had dimmed.

Patrick Henry Mall was opening about 10 miles away, complete with a Bradlee’s discount store and a Hess’s Department Store. Miller & Rhoads was having trouble.

But executives at Goodman Segar Hogan Inc. saw opportunity glimmering.

The surrounding neighborhoods were dense with high-income households. The mall was due for a renovation. It could become a community-oriented center, something along the lines of Pembroke Mall.

“We went after this thing hot and heavy, and we had every reason to believe that we could turn it around,” recalls Jay B. Lafler, then senior vice president with Goodman Segar.

Miller & Rhoads assured GSH that despite the company’s troubles, it was committed to Newmarket, said Lafler, now a vice president with Commercial Property Management, a Richmond-based firm.

GSH bought the property as managing general partner for the Connecticut Teachers Pension fund for $33.9 million in 1987.

The center was 85 percent occupied, and most of the tenants were national chains. The mall averaged $160 per square foot in sales annually, matching the national average for shopping malls at the time.

GSH sank $9 million into the renovation, redecorated and added a carousel, a children’s play area, a food court, skylights and kiosks. The new name, Newmarket Fair, and a logo with three flags were meant to reflect the entertainment focus.

But in 1989, Miller & Rhoads filed for bankruptcy. The next year it closed its doors at Newmarket Fair.

Once that happened, “things kind of snowballed,” Lafler said.

The retail industry was quaking. Industry giants such as Federated and Allied Stores Corp. filed for bankruptcy, and few retailers had the funds to expand. Those that did were making big demands on landlords. With the recession, the Persian Gulf War, and massive layoffs at the local shipyards, consumers weren’t spending, either.

Robert Stanton, then president of GSH, said that it was Dillard’s “no thank you” to the Miller & Rhoads site that helped him see what state the property was in.

“It took an outsider’s perspective for it to dawn on us that the trade area was moving . . . and the part of town that used to be the epicenter of shopping was losing its edge,” Stanton said.

One by one, the openings of nearby developments sucked traffic away from Newmarket Fair.

Once the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel opened in April 1992, drivers no longer had to use the James River Bridge, which had pulled cars down Mercury Boulevard, and right past Newmarket Fair.

In September 1992, with the mall nearly half-empty, Goodman Segar sold its interest to Wilder Management Associates, a Massachusetts- based developer.

Two years later, Leggett closed its doors at Newmarket Fair.

In January 1997, Newmarket North Associates, the entity that owned the mall, filed for bankruptcy, owing $22.4 million to its mortgage holder, Aetna Life Insurance Co.

Again, opportunity beckoned.

This time, it called Divaris.

He knew that abandoned retail space could be recycled as office space.

In 1995, United Parcel Service had opened a package tracking facility in a vacant Kmart store in Warwick Village Shopping Center. MCI Communications Corp. had taken over an old Lowe’s Cos. Inc. store on Warwick Boulevard, and West Telemarketing Corp. had moved into a former Roses store in Willow Oaks Shopping Center.

The selling points for these spaces, and the appeal that the developers are hoping to sell Newmarket on, is available parking, zoning and site work complete, and wide-open spaces. City and state incentives also sweetened the deals. Since the Hampton Urban Enterprise Zone was recently redrawn to include Newmarket, tenants there could qualify for such incentives.

Divaris Real Estate Inc., based in Virginia Beach, already was managing Eastlake Square Mall, a regional mall in Tampa, Fla., that John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. had taken through foreclosure.

The Tampa mall was emptied of its remaining retailers and transformed into Netpark, a complex of class “A” office space equipped with fiber optics, high-speed Internet access and other resources to accommodate office use.

It is promoted for having the same amenities as corporate headquarters, and Divaris sees so much opportunity that he registered the name “Netpark” in every state.

The space in Tampa has been flanked by day care, copying and mail services, banking and health care, plus a food court and fitness center. There’s even a softball diamond outside.

Roughly 25 percent of the space has been leased, including a 500- station call center for General Motors. Roughly 140,000 square feet of space is under negotiation, said John Wingfield, senior vice president with Divaris.

Divaris saw the opportunity to convert Newmarket into another of these “company towns.”

He took the idea to Garcia.

“The Netpark concept was really the vision,” said Andrea Kilmer, vice president of Sans Holding Corp., the Virginia companies owned by Garcia.

In June 1997, Sans bought Newmarket for $5 million and enlisted Divaris as the leasing agent.

Later that year, Bell Atlantic Plus Inc., bolstered by $400,000 in state and city incentives, turned the Miller & Rhoads site into a call center.

Last year, the cities of Newport News and Hampton set up a joint social services office in Newmarket, in a 2,400-square-foot space that “16 plus” clothing stores once occupied. About the same time, AMSEC LLC, a joint venture between Newport News Shipbuilding and Science Applications International Corp., moved in with about 350 employees.

Bell Atlantic put about $26 million into the center, which now employs about 900 people.

Where racks of dresses once hung, cubicles now section off workstations. Where Muzak once played, white noise now buffers the sounds of chattering into headsets.

What’s it like to work there?

“The first impression of the mall is, `Wow, this is a ghost town,’ but there are some hidden perks,” said Marcia Fulford, manager of what Bell Atlantic refers to as the “Mega Center.”

“The free parking is nice and it’s great for mall walking at lunch. You can grab a bite, do 20 minutes of walking and still get back to your desk in plenty of time.”

But Fulford said she’d like to see a few more places to eat, a dry cleaners, a drugstore and a card store to replace the Hallmark store that left a year ago.

“It would be great to run your errands at lunch and not have to get in your car.”

Barbara Gibson, manager of Piccadilly Cafeteria, a Newmarket fixture for more than two decades, says a steady stream of customers has remained loyal to her restaurant, despite the vacancy of the mall and the Piccadilly that opened at Patrick Henry.

The remaining significant retail tenant is Sears, which owns its own parcel. Though rumors have circulated for years that Sears is itching to leave, officials from the nation’s No. 2 retailer say they’re staying put.

“At this point, those are only rumors that Sears would be pulling out. We have no plans to do so,” said Peggy Palter, a company spokeswoman.

Kilmer says that if Sears left, it wouldn’t hurt the conversion effort.

Local real estate brokers say that owners of Newmarket Fair have no choice but to recycle away from retail and that plenty of potential tenants would covet that space.

“In this age of communications, there’s no limit to these types of facilities,” said Stephan Gordon, vice president at S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. “There will always be demand for them.”

Demand for class “B” office space is strong on the Peninsula. According to the Old Dominion University Real Estate Center, vacancy for that space was 4.8 percent in 1999, down from 8.3 percent the year before. The average rent has crept up to $11.84 a foot, compared with $11.55 a foot the year before.

Others say that plenty of empty real estate space will need recycling.

“Real estate is cyclical,” said Jerrold France, publisher of Shopping Center Business. “Markets outgrow themselves, and new markets open, but if the location is good, they’ll be very good alternative uses.

“Reach Jennifer Goldblatt at 446-2338 or jgoldbla(AT)pilotonline.com

Illustrations/Photos:
Caption: COLOR PHOTO
AS OFFICE SPACE EXPANDS, SEARS…
PHOTO
MARK P. MITCHELL/The Virginian-Pilot
Where shoppers once mingled in the old Newmarket Fair, workers will
take coffee breaks in Newmarket Center.
GRAPHIC
1975: The $35 million mall opens as the first two-tiered mall in
Tidewater, three miles from Coliseum Mall. It brought the region’s
largest Sears, Roebuck & Co., Miller & Rhoads, and Leggetts
Department Stores.
1987: Patrick Henry Mall opens 15 miles down the road.
1989: Goodman Segar Hogan Inc. bought Newmarket North Mall, acting as
managing general partner for a pension fund, paying $33.9 million for
the project. GSH does a $10 million renovation of the project, adding
a carousel and children’s play area, changing the name to “Newmarket
Fair.”
1989: Miller & Rhoads files for bankruptcy, the company will close
its store the next year. In the next two years, a spate of department
store bankruptcies diminishes potential anchor candidates.
1989: Chesapeake Square Mall opens.
1992: Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel opens,
1992: Wilder Management Co. buys Goodman Segar Hogan’s interest in
the mall.
1994: Mall negotiates with Thomas Nelson Community College for about
40 percent of the mall’s space for off campus classes in the mall. No
deal is made. Leggett closes its 125,000 square foot store.
1997: Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing for Newmarket North Associates,
with $22.4 million owed to Aetna Life Insurance Co. Sale to Sans
Holding Corp., the Virginia companies owned by developer Edward
Garcia.
1997: Bell Atlantic Corp. announces a customer service and sales
center in the former Miller & Rhoads.
1999: The cities of Hampton and Newport News take a 2,400 square foot
space of a former specialty clothing retailer. AMSEC LLC moves into
space. Sans changes the name to Newmarket Center.
VP GRAPHIC/MAP
AREA SHOWN: NEWMARKET FAIR

(Copyright 2000)

"This place has really gone downhill."

Filed under: newmarket fair mall — Anita @ 7:05 pm

An article I found recently on finditva.com (I found it using my old library card from when I lived in Hampton) about my personal dead mall, Newmarket North/Newmarket Fair (now called Netcenter) in Hampton, VA:

A MALL REBORN AFTER STRUGGLING AS RETAIL, HAMPTON’S NEWMARKET FAIR HAS NEW LIFE AS OFFICE SPACE; JENNIFER GOLDBLATT, STAFF WRITER
Virginian Pilot (Norfolk) 04-02-2000

A MALL REBORN AFTER STRUGGLING AS RETAIL, HAMPTON’S NEWMARKET FAIR HAS NEW LIFE AS OFFICE SPACE
Byline: JENNIFER GOLDBLATT, STAFF WRITER
Edition: FINAL

Section: BUSINESS
Memo: Staff researcher Diana Diehl contributed to this report.

HAMPTON —

By 10 o’clock weekday mornings, Newmarket Fair’s parking lot is so packed that it would draw envy even from MacArthur Center.

But inside, most of the shopping is confined to Sears Roebuck & Co., where racks bloom with the pastel suits and blouses of the spring collection. A few shoppers peek out of Sears’ mall entrance and spot a fitness center, an abandoned drugstore, and faded purple- and-teal metal hangings dangling over a sea of ripped-out storefronts.
Most turn on their heels, but Tom Mcalhany ventures into the mall.

“I just want the exercise,” he says. “This place has really gone downhill.”

Newmarket Fair, crowned 26 years ago as the Peninsula’s first enclosed mall, is being recycled as an office complex with enough retail to serve workers’ needs. Decimated by bankruptcies and squeezed by competition, the mall is being reborn as Newmarket Center.

The plan is to bring in more office users, move the 37 remaining retail tenants closer to the office space, and sign up new tenants to provide services such as day care and dry cleaning for the office workers.

This is the largest such conversion in Hampton Roads. At 574,000 square feet, Newmarket Center is about as big as Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach. The center is one of a handful of opportunities that Virginia Beach developer Gerald Divaris sees nationwide, as bankruptcies and shifts in retail leave vast empty shells.

With free parking, ample space and maybe a government incentive or two, more and more retail washouts are finding new life as places to work rather than places to shop.

“This will no longer function as a retail mall,” said Jim Perkins, a project manager with ESG Properties, the Virginia Beach-based real estate development company that owns the property and is led by Edward Garcia. “You can’t force an issue; you’ve got to go with what the market will bear.

“That,” he said, pointing to Rouse Tower, the 12-story “B” class office building across Mercury Boulevard, “that’s our competition now.”

When baseball great Ted Williams cut the ribbon on Newmarket North in fall 1975, the $35 million project was hailed as Tidewater’s “first two-tiered mall,” boasting the area’s largest Sears, at 240,000 square feet, and Miller & Rhoads, at 123,000 square feet, and a Leggett department store that spanned 120,000 square feet.

It was a joint venture between the Hahn Co., a San Diego-based developer, and a Nashville-based insurance company.

Together with 18-year-old Newmarket South Shopping Center across the street, it was “the largest high-fashion retailing center” in Virginia.

By 1987 the outlook had dimmed.

Patrick Henry Mall was opening about 10 miles away, complete with a Bradlee’s discount store and a Hess’s Department Store. Miller & Rhoads was having trouble.

But executives at Goodman Segar Hogan Inc. saw opportunity glimmering.

The surrounding neighborhoods were dense with high-income households. The mall was due for a renovation. It could become a community-oriented center, something along the lines of Pembroke Mall.

“We went after this thing hot and heavy, and we had every reason to believe that we could turn it around,” recalls Jay B. Lafler, then senior vice president with Goodman Segar.

Miller & Rhoads assured GSH that despite the company’s troubles, it was committed to Newmarket, said Lafler, now a vice president with Commercial Property Management, a Richmond-based firm.

GSH bought the property as managing general partner for the Connecticut Teachers Pension fund for $33.9 million in 1987.

The center was 85 percent occupied, and most of the tenants were national chains. The mall averaged $160 per square foot in sales annually, matching the national average for shopping malls at the time.

GSH sank $9 million into the renovation, redecorated and added a carousel, a children’s play area, a food court, skylights and kiosks. The new name, Newmarket Fair, and a logo with three flags were meant to reflect the entertainment focus.

But in 1989, Miller & Rhoads filed for bankruptcy. The next year it closed its doors at Newmarket Fair.

Once that happened, “things kind of snowballed,” Lafler said.

The retail industry was quaking. Industry giants such as Federated and Allied Stores Corp. filed for bankruptcy, and few retailers had the funds to expand. Those that did were making big demands on landlords. With the recession, the Persian Gulf War, and massive layoffs at the local shipyards, consumers weren’t spending, either.

Robert Stanton, then president of GSH, said that it was Dillard’s “no thank you” to the Miller & Rhoads site that helped him see what state the property was in.

“It took an outsider’s perspective for it to dawn on us that the trade area was moving . . . and the part of town that used to be the epicenter of shopping was losing its edge,” Stanton said.

One by one, the openings of nearby developments sucked traffic away from Newmarket Fair.

Once the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel opened in April 1992, drivers no longer had to use the James River Bridge, which had pulled cars down Mercury Boulevard, and right past Newmarket Fair.

In September 1992, with the mall nearly half-empty, Goodman Segar sold its interest to Wilder Management Associates, a Massachusetts- based developer.

Two years later, Leggett closed its doors at Newmarket Fair.

In January 1997, Newmarket North Associates, the entity that owned the mall, filed for bankruptcy, owing $22.4 million to its mortgage holder, Aetna Life Insurance Co.

Again, opportunity beckoned.

This time, it called Divaris.

He knew that abandoned retail space could be recycled as office space.

In 1995, United Parcel Service had opened a package tracking facility in a vacant Kmart store in Warwick Village Shopping Center. MCI Communications Corp. had taken over an old Lowe’s Cos. Inc. store on Warwick Boulevard, and West Telemarketing Corp. had moved into a former Roses store in Willow Oaks Shopping Center.

The selling points for these spaces, and the appeal that the developers are hoping to sell Newmarket on, is available parking, zoning and site work complete, and wide-open spaces. City and state incentives also sweetened the deals. Since the Hampton Urban Enterprise Zone was recently redrawn to include Newmarket, tenants there could qualify for such incentives.

Divaris Real Estate Inc., based in Virginia Beach, already was managing Eastlake Square Mall, a regional mall in Tampa, Fla., that John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. had taken through foreclosure.

The Tampa mall was emptied of its remaining retailers and transformed into Netpark, a complex of class “A” office space equipped with fiber optics, high-speed Internet access and other resources to accommodate office use.

It is promoted for having the same amenities as corporate headquarters, and Divaris sees so much opportunity that he registered the name “Netpark” in every state.

The space in Tampa has been flanked by day care, copying and mail services, banking and health care, plus a food court and fitness center. There’s even a softball diamond outside.

Roughly 25 percent of the space has been leased, including a 500- station call center for General Motors. Roughly 140,000 square feet of space is under negotiation, said John Wingfield, senior vice president with Divaris.

Divaris saw the opportunity to convert Newmarket into another of these “company towns.”

He took the idea to Garcia.

“The Netpark concept was really the vision,” said Andrea Kilmer, vice president of Sans Holding Corp., the Virginia companies owned by Garcia.

In June 1997, Sans bought Newmarket for $5 million and enlisted Divaris as the leasing agent.

Later that year, Bell Atlantic Plus Inc., bolstered by $400,000 in state and city incentives, turned the Miller & Rhoads site into a call center.

Last year, the cities of Newport News and Hampton set up a joint social services office in Newmarket, in a 2,400-square-foot space that “16 plus” clothing stores once occupied. About the same time, AMSEC LLC, a joint venture between Newport News Shipbuilding and Science Applications International Corp., moved in with about 350 employees.

Bell Atlantic put about $26 million into the center, which now employs about 900 people.

Where racks of dresses once hung, cubicles now section off workstations. Where Muzak once played, white noise now buffers the sounds of chattering into headsets.

What’s it like to work there?

“The first impression of the mall is, `Wow, this is a ghost town,’ but there are some hidden perks,” said Marcia Fulford, manager of what Bell Atlantic refers to as the “Mega Center.”

“The free parking is nice and it’s great for mall walking at lunch. You can grab a bite, do 20 minutes of walking and still get back to your desk in plenty of time.”

But Fulford said she’d like to see a few more places to eat, a dry cleaners, a drugstore and a card store to replace the Hallmark store that left a year ago.

“It would be great to run your errands at lunch and not have to get in your car.”

Barbara Gibson, manager of Piccadilly Cafeteria, a Newmarket fixture for more than two decades, says a steady stream of customers has remained loyal to her restaurant, despite the vacancy of the mall and the Piccadilly that opened at Patrick Henry.

The remaining significant retail tenant is Sears, which owns its own parcel. Though rumors have circulated for years that Sears is itching to leave, officials from the nation’s No. 2 retailer say they’re staying put.

“At this point, those are only rumors that Sears would be pulling out. We have no plans to do so,” said Peggy Palter, a company spokeswoman.

Kilmer says that if Sears left, it wouldn’t hurt the conversion effort.

Local real estate brokers say that owners of Newmarket Fair have no choice but to recycle away from retail and that plenty of potential tenants would covet that space.

“In this age of communications, there’s no limit to these types of facilities,” said Stephan Gordon, vice president at S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. “There will always be demand for them.”

Demand for class “B” office space is strong on the Peninsula. According to the Old Dominion University Real Estate Center, vacancy for that space was 4.8 percent in 1999, down from 8.3 percent the year before. The average rent has crept up to $11.84 a foot, compared with $11.55 a foot the year before.

Others say that plenty of empty real estate space will need recycling.

“Real estate is cyclical,” said Jerrold France, publisher of Shopping Center Business. “Markets outgrow themselves, and new markets open, but if the location is good, they’ll be very good alternative uses.

“Reach Jennifer Goldblatt at 446-2338 or jgoldbla(AT)pilotonline.com

Illustrations/Photos:
Caption: COLOR PHOTO
AS OFFICE SPACE EXPANDS, SEARS…
PHOTO
MARK P. MITCHELL/The Virginian-Pilot
Where shoppers once mingled in the old Newmarket Fair, workers will
take coffee breaks in Newmarket Center.
GRAPHIC
1975: The $35 million mall opens as the first two-tiered mall in
Tidewater, three miles from Coliseum Mall. It brought the region’s
largest Sears, Roebuck & Co., Miller & Rhoads, and Leggetts
Department Stores.
1987: Patrick Henry Mall opens 15 miles down the road.
1989: Goodman Segar Hogan Inc. bought Newmarket North Mall, acting as
managing general partner for a pension fund, paying $33.9 million for
the project. GSH does a $10 million renovation of the project, adding
a carousel and children’s play area, changing the name to “Newmarket
Fair.”
1989: Miller & Rhoads files for bankruptcy, the company will close
its store the next year. In the next two years, a spate of department
store bankruptcies diminishes potential anchor candidates.
1989: Chesapeake Square Mall opens.
1992: Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel opens,
1992: Wilder Management Co. buys Goodman Segar Hogan’s interest in
the mall.
1994: Mall negotiates with Thomas Nelson Community College for about
40 percent of the mall’s space for off campus classes in the mall. No
deal is made. Leggett closes its 125,000 square foot store.
1997: Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing for Newmarket North Associates,
with $22.4 million owed to Aetna Life Insurance Co. Sale to Sans
Holding Corp., the Virginia companies owned by developer Edward
Garcia.
1997: Bell Atlantic Corp. announces a customer service and sales
center in the former Miller & Rhoads.
1999: The cities of Hampton and Newport News take a 2,400 square foot
space of a former specialty clothing retailer. AMSEC LLC moves into
space. Sans changes the name to Newmarket Center.
VP GRAPHIC/MAP
AREA SHOWN: NEWMARKET FAIR

(Copyright 2000)

"This place really needs to be fixed up."

Filed under: other malls — Anita @ 7:01 pm

The article that wanted me to start making a blog about sick malls:

(from January 26, 2004)

Savvy Specialists Help
‘Sick’ Malls Get Better

By DEAN STARKMAN
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

From The Wall Street Journal Online

POTTSTOWN, Pa. — Rene F. Daniel walked the floor of Coventry Mall here recently, looking for ways to squeeze more sales out of this 1960s-era regional mall. He stopped in front of a problem: Arby’s.

The tired-looking fast-food outlet was generating weak sales relative to other stores lately, despite its prime location by a mall entrance. “That one’s not going to make it,” Mr. Daniel said, shaking his head.

His plan: Force it out.

Meet the mall doctor. A 30-year real-estate veteran, Mr. Daniel is one of a growing cadre of professionals who specialize in resuscitating dying shopping malls. His remedy for Coventry — a multipronged effort including store shuffling, ejecting poor performers, attracting desirable tenants and general renovation — is part of a wider struggle on the margins of malldom: The country has too many malls, and many just aren’t going to make it.

Analysts estimate that up to a third of the nation’s 1,200 malls are obsolete or nearly so. After a decade of consolidation, the 10 largest mall real-estate investment trusts now control 47% of all malls — nearly all of the 200 high-performing “A” quality properties and most of the B’s. In addition, 10 or so shiny new malls are built a year. These top malls increasingly dominate shoppers’ dollars.

That leaves a large list of downscale malls owned by families, trusts with diverse holdings and other smaller operators — like Coventry’s landlord, closely held Goodman Co. of West Palm Beach, Fla. — many of which don’t have the resources or the know-how to compete.

Second-tier malls are especially hurt by faltering lower-price department stores, such as J.C. Penney Co. and the now-defunct Bradlees, and competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other nonmall discounters.

“About 20% are ‘D’ malls, which need to be de-malled,” quips Lee Schalop, a Banc of America Securities analyst.

Malls are expensive to demolish and nearly impossible to convert to another use. Dead malls are often crime scenes and a drain on local tax rolls. The landscape is already pocked with dead or dying eyesores, such as Dixie Square in Harvey, Ill.; River Roads in Jennings, Mo.; and Beloit Plaza, in Beloit, Wis.

And dozens more are on the margins, creating a growing market for turnaround specialists, which include national powers Jones Lang Lasalle and Urban Retail Properties Co., both based in Chicago.

Urban, for instance, was hired in late 2002 to assess the viability of the Mall of Memphis, in Memphis, Tenn., which some local wags called the “mall of murder” after the mid-1990s robbery and murder of a store manager. The owner, a Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. unit that took control of the property in 2002 through a foreclosure, decided to close the property as of the end of last month.

A Manhattan native and economics graduate of Hunter College, the 59-year-old Mr. Daniel has leased space on behalf of mall landlords since the 1970s. In the past decade, however, as publicly traded mall giants, like General Growth Properties Inc. and Westfield America Inc., bought or built the most productive malls in the best locations, Mr. Daniel began to advise small landlords needing help with faded property. Last fall, he formed a joint venture with a New Jersey-based brokerage, Metro Daniel LLC, based in Baltimore and Mount Laurel, N.J., to focus on mall rehab full time.

When Mr. Daniel took over management of Coventry five years ago, the 1960s-era mall was undersize, tired-looking and, at 36% vacant, bleeding tenants. Its Bradlees anchor had gone dark, while its Foot Locker Inc. and Gap Inc. stores were cramped and dingy. It also had too many locals, like Westies Shoes, drawing too little traffic. And only 22 miles away was the sprawling King of Prussia Mall, the nation’s biggest shopping complex. (The famed Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minn., has more total space but less shop space.)

To save it, Mr. Daniel needed to cut the number of trips Pottstown residents took to King of Prussia to two or three a year, from five or six, and get shoppers to linger longer.

Step one: Fix the food. Coventry had a six-stall food court with mostly local operators, “Hot Dogs & More,” “Egg Roll Hut” — but no burgers. McDonald’s Corp. agreed to open a small 1,000-square-foot operation in 1999 and was followed by a Subway Restaurants outlet (replacing a local operator, Daniel’s Deli), Saladworks Inc. (into a vacant spot) and other chains.

Next, the Gap. Sales at the bellwether tenant were dragged down by its 1980s-era exterior — red neon sign and blue Formica facade. It was often confused with a discount outlet — a “dump store,” Mr. Daniel says.

To persuade it to spiff up, he showed Gap executives the company’s own sales receipts from King of Prussia to show many Pottstown residents were shopping there. To find extra room, he refused to renew the lease of its neighbor, Everything 99 Cent, doubled the Gap’s size and installed a new look: blond wood, sleek glass and a new navy-blue sign. Mr. Daniel used Gap’s subsequent success to sell Coventry to Aeropostale Inc., Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. and Limited Brands Inc.

While physical renovations can help faltering malls, getting undesirable tenants out is more important. Sometimes Mr. Daniel has to get tough. To force out Musselman’s Jewelers, which generated only $467,000 in sales in 2001, he rented a spot across the hall to a Zale Corp. store, which generated about $900,000 in 2002. The Musselman’s closed about two years ago.

“They didn’t want to go, so I helped them,” Mr. Daniel says. Randy McCullough, chief executive of closely held Samuels Jewelers Inc., of Austin, Texas, which operated the Coventry store in 2000 and 2001, says he isn’t sure whether competition hurt or helped.

Next, Mr. Daniel plans to shave 100 feet off from the old Bradlees space to make room for a new “pad” — a parcel in the middle of the parking lot suitable for a restaurant — without losing parking spaces.

As for that Arby’s, Mr. Daniel says he has plans for its space when its lease is up, in 2008: Knock out a wall, build a new entrance from the parking lot and lease the space to a sit-down restaurant that would pay higher rent.

“I’ve got to uproot just one pine tree,” he muses.

Bob Cross, vice president for business development for Arby’s Inc., a unit of Triarc Cos., New York, says the Coventry outlet’s sales are above average, despite having been hurt by another Arby’s that opened less than a mile away. Mr. Cross says the Coventry store’s franchisee has no intention of leaving the mall, but might agree to move to a different location, for instance, the food court.

And while the mall doesn’t look much different from a few years ago, shoppers are spending more. Indeed, Coventry’s vital signs are now good. Vacancies are 6%, while sales per square foot are $330, above the national average, from $240 before the do-over.

Vickey Sihler, sitting on a bench with her five-year-old daughter, Abigail, says she started coming for the improved Gap and the Children’s Place store, which opened two years ago. Still, she has a suggestion: “This place really needs to be fixed up.”

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