That Mall is sick and that Store is dead!

August 12, 2011

A New Look For Newmarket {Daily Press, 2-4-90}

Filed under: newmarket fair mall,newspaper clippings — Anita @ 7:57 pm

new look for newmarket (2/4/1990)//
new look for newmarket (2/4/1990)//

A New Look For Newmarket.

A New Look For Newmarket

Officials Hope Face Lift Will Lift Mall’s Slump

February 04, 1990|By NEIL CORNISH Staff Writer

Mall officials and tenants at Newmarket North are banking on a $9 million renovation to produce an increase in customer traffic and restore the mall’s position in the Peninsula’s retail market.

Several stores have closed recently, including one of the mall’s three anchors. Merchants said customer traffic at Newmarket North has been slow in recent weeks, but they added that January is traditionally an off time for retail.

Mickey McWilliams, manager at Cookie Co., said an increase in customer flow is important for his store. “I think everyone’s hoping the renovation will attract new business, bring some excitement to the mall,” he said. “Nobody comes to the mall to buy cookies.”

Goodman Segar Hogan purchased Newmarket North in July for $44 million. The company soon after revealed plans for the mall’s remodeling, which included an 11-tenant food court and 13,000 square feet of glass and fabric skylighting. A glass-enclosed elevator, community room and permanent stage will also be added.

Work in the area of the food court started last month. The total project is expected to be completed in mid-October.

At the time of Newmarket’s sale, some retail industry watchers – Goodman Segar officials included – felt the mall had lost ground in recent years to Peninsula competitors, Coliseum Mall in Hampton and Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News.

Industry watchers pointed to those malls’ locations near Interstate 64 as providing a substantial advantage over Newmarket North, located on Mercury Boulevard near Jefferson Avenue.

Coliseum Mall’s renovation last October could further erode Newmarket North’s market share, industry officials said, and the opening last fall of Chesapeake Square mall in Chesapeake could cut into Newmarket North’s ability to draw shoppers from south of the James River Bridge.

Rob Belue, Newmarket North manager, said he was pleased with the mall’s performance in 1989, adding he was expecting a “good single-digit increase” in sales when 1989’s figures are tabulated. “Taking the local economy, it’s been a good solid year for us,” he said.

Several mall tenants have left recently. Miller & Rhoads, as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, has closed. Signet Bank merged its mall office into a branch 1 1/2 miles down Mercury Boulevard.

The mall did not renew the lease for Circus World, a toy store that then closed.

Mr. Sport, a sporting goods store, and Foxmoor, a clothing store, also are gone; Belue cited company problems for those two closures.

Eight temporary merchants, some doing business from stalls in the corridors, also closed after Christmas, as planned, Belue said.

The mall is working on replacements but did not have any information to release at this time, he said.

Belue said he thinks the mall’s renovation and subsequent tenant remix will compensate for the advantage in location enjoyed by Coliseum and Patrick Henry malls.

“The selection and choice will be there for them,” he said of shoppers. “We’d love to keep them here all day long, and I think we have a good shot at it, but you have to be realistic.”

Mall merchants said they expected the renovation to have great impact on mall traffic and sales.

“We feel very positive about Newmarket North,” said Gary Todd, general manager for Leggett department store’s Newmarket and Patrick Henry stores. “We are very bullish on the mall.”

Newmarket North “is an up-and-coming mall,” he said. “We were very pleased with last year.”

Anna Croyle at Ritz Camera said, “We do need the face lift to the mall. I think it’s time.” She said she planned to “sit back and see how the remodeling does.”

Industry watchers were mixed as to whether the renovation will have much of an impact on Newmarket North’s position on the Peninsula.

“That mall has never really set the woods on fire since it started,” said one commercial realty agent, who added that Newmarket’s future depends in large part on who owners find to fill the space vacated by Miller & Rhoads.

Another observer saw New market North’s future under Goodman Segar more favorably: “One of their strong points is taking weak centers and turning them around.”

Goodman Segar’s purchase of Newmarket North should not be viewed as a gamble or a crap shoot, Belue said.

“We feel that there’s some great potential at this center,” Belue said. “I think it’s just good business sense. It’s strictly knowing how to make it happen.”




Of course we all know what happened, the renovation drove even more customers away, and by the time it was completed in November of 1990, even more stores were closed, and I don’t even know the all the spaces in the food court were ever taken up. It was always dead every time we went over there growing up. Usually just Sbarro was open.

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