Peninsula Town Center
The makeover of the former Coliseum Mall’s site is safe because Mall Properties, the New York-based firm building the mixed-use development, had financing complete before the project started and has a strong credit rating. Unlike some developers that live off borrowed money for projects and then sell them, Mall Properties regularly generates income from hotel, retail and office buildings it owns and manages.
“This is why companies like ours have been around for so long,” said Raymond Tripp, general manager of Peninsula Town Center. “We buy properties for investment opportunities.”
Almost every building in Peninsula Town Center — a mix of office, retail, residential and restaurant space — is well under way or even close to finished. The last building, which will have a movie theater and possibly a comedy club, has received approvals and will begin construction soon.
The Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale restaurants at the edge of the development along Coliseum Drive closed in July as the chains’ parent company went bankrupt. Tripp said that the loss of the income hurt but but that the plan was to eventually knock them down, anyway – which will happen once they get bankruptcy court approval.
“Those are great sites to use to entice another retailer or restaurant,” Tripp said.
The challenge at Peninsula Town Center is to entice retailers and restaurants when consumer spending is forcing the weakest companies into bankruptcy. Tripp won’t disclose specific names until almost all the tenants are in place, but he said some good deals were completed.
“We’re having some very good success and very good conversations with potential tenants,” Tripp said. “We’re having to work harder than if the economy was better.”
Retailers have been touring the development in the past six weeks. Having a high-quality mixed-use development is a big draw for the now-pickier retailers still adding stores.
“People are more interested in talking to us because we have a new product,” Tripp said.