That Mall is sick and that Store is dead!

May 25, 2013

Will Newmarket’s New Look Work? (Daily Press 11-11-90)

Filed under: newmarket fair mall,newspaper clippings — Anita @ 12:14 am

(I originally scanned b&w photocopies of this article here)

(I actually keep a photocopy of this article on the wall in my room, don’t joke. I know I’m a pathetic retail dork)

Will Newmarket’s New Look Work?

Competition, Economy May Cloud Its Chance For A Brighter Future

November 11, 1990|By NEIL CORNISH Staff Writer

HAMPTON — As work crews scurry to put the finishing touches on Newmarket North’s metamorphosis into Newmarket Fair, one question remains for mall owner Goodman Segar Hogan.

Will it be enough?

Goodman Segar is gambling that its $9-million renovation will jump-start the moribund mall, which has lost ground the past three years to competitors Coliseum Mall in the Mercury Central area of Hampton and Patrick Henry Mall in the Oyster Point area of Newport News. a sluggish economy, immediate competition and the mall’s inability to fill the space vacated by one of its three anchors, Miller & Rhoads.

Newmarket tenants, who have lived through 10 months of construction, said they had high expectations for the renovated mall.

“It’s opened it up. It’s brighter, it’s more inviting,” said Carol Leggett, store manager for K&K Toys. “I think it will turn it around.”

Deborah Moreau, Newmarket Fair’s general manager, said Goodman Segar hopes to position the mall as an entertaining, family- oriented place. To that end, the mall has added a carousel and children’s play area and has placed TV monitors in the new food court.

During the pre-Christmas season, Newmarket will serve as Peninsula headquarters for the Toys For Tots campaign, Moreau said, while off-beat events such as a mall-sponsored Super Bowl party and an afternoon soap opera party are being considered.

The mall’s new information center will sell lottery tickets, in addition to providing fax machine service and a drop-off point for dry cleaning.

The mall has “a lot of amenities that makes this more of an all-encompassing shopping environment,” Moreau said. “We’re not just a place to come to shop.”

Moreau, a former marketing director for the mall, returned to Newmarket in June, following a three-year hiatus. “When I left, I thought we were holding our own competing with Coliseum,” she said.

Since then, the mall has tread water while Coliseum continued to grow and Patrick Henry opened in 1987. Tenants and officials saw Newmarket, built in 1975, as dark and outdated.

Coliseum, located about three miles north of Newmarket, put more heat on its competitor when it completed its own renovation in 1989.

Newmarket also suffered a disadvantage in access, as both Coliseum and Patrick Henry are in close proximity to Interstate 64.

“We knew it had slipped,” Moreau said of Newmarket. “We were contenders in the market, but not as strong as we used to be.”

When Goodman Segar bought the mall in July 1989, it immediately set out to rectify the situation. The Norfolk-based company announced plans to renovate the mall on the same day it acquired the property for $34 million from Hahn Co. of San Diego and American General Insurance of Houston.

Improving interior lighting was one of the primary goals, so Goodman Segar had more than 14,000 square feet of skylighting installed in the two-story mall. To improve the mall’s aesthetics, the orange and brown color scheme has been replaced with white walls accented with pastel blue.

Kiosks sport the mall’s new teal, fuchsia, purple and gold colors in small glass squares.

Goodman Segar commissioned a $70,000 sculpture for the center court. The sculpture, which consists of multi-colored triangular flags representing blowing sails, has already drawn attention, Moreau said. There are “people who love it, people who hate it,” she said. “But they talk about it.”

Goodman Segar is celebrating the mall’s rebirth with an invitation-only gathering today. While most of the remodeling is complete, some gaps remain.

The mall’s food court will not be completed by the grand opening, Moreau said. More importantly, Goodman Segar is still struggling to fill the space left when Miller & Rhoads closed its doors in January.

The Richmond-based department store chain was forced to liquidate after a failed reorganization attempt last year. Miller & Rhoads’ closing has left more than 120,000 square feet of retail space in the mall unused, and efforts to lure replacement tenants – notably Hecht’s – have been unsuccessful so far.

“It’s obviously of major importance to us,” said Moreau, who added the company has no time frame for when it will find a replacement.

Moreau said Newmarket’s turnaround should take less than the normal three to five years. A big hindrance is the uncertainty facing the nation’s economy, in which the Middle East crisis is playing a key role.

“The economy obviously is not working with us,” Moreau said. “I think it adds a lot of uncertainty to the time frame in which we can turn it around. It doesn’t help us.”

Regardless, Newmarket’s renovation has drawn praise from its competitors.

“I think they’re going to do all right,” said Roger Brown, Patrick Henry Mall manager. “It’s unique, it’s nice.”

He said the area’s shaky economy would not hurt Newmarket any worse than other retail properties. “We’re all looking at it. We’ve all got to stay awake and do what we’ve got to do.”

nne Marie Haverkamp, Coliseum Mall marketing director, said the renovation would increase Newmarket’s marketability.

“It was a needed renovation, just like it was necessary at Coliseum Mall,” Haverkamp said. “We compliment them on their interior changes and the addition of natural lighting, and the selection of new flooring.”

“It’s basically quite a transformation between what it was and what it is today,” said Robert Syler, project architect for The FWA Group, the North Carolina-based firm that designed Newmarket’s renovation. However, Syler said that if the proper tenant mix is not present, renovation alone will not make a mall successful.

Newmarket tenants are crossing their fingers that the renovation will be just the tonic needed. Kate Turney, an employee at Camelot Records, said the renovation had already helped mall traffic pick up. “After living through all the dust and dirt and construction, we’re trying to maintain as positive an attitude as possible,” she said.

The renovation has not come without a cost to retailers. Kevin Stickney, assistant manager for Hofheimer’s Shoes, said sales had dropped 30 percent from the same time last year. “I’ve noticed that the mall’s been kind of dead because of the renovations,” he said.

Stickney said Newmarket’s management had no choice in deciding to renovate the mall. “They really had to do something,” he said.


It really seems like Miller & Rhoads closing + the remodel absolutely killed the mall in 1989/1990. Probably didn’t help that Patrick Henry Mall opened in 1987.

I also wonder what Deborah is doing these days. I can’t imagine “managing a dying mall in the late 1980s when malls were booming” looks good on her resume. Note how she is DRESSED LIKE THE MALL.

May 22, 2013

“How is Newmarket Fairing?” (February 27, 1994)

Filed under: newmarket fair mall,newspaper clippings — Anita @ 11:57 pm

How Is Newmarket Faring?

Demographic Changes Have Hampton Mall Straining For A Strategy

February 27, 1994|By LISA HUBER Daily Press

HAMPTON — Sandi Staylor’s small shop lasted in Newmarket Fair mall for less than seven months.

Today, the owner of Crystal Vibrations – one of several small stores drawn to Newmarket by innovative leases designed to increase occupancy – says her short venture into the Hampton mall may cause her 5-year-old business to fail.

“The business there at that mall is very bad,” said Staylor, whose store sells rocks, crystals and other New Age items.

Staylor isn’t alone. Although there are some tenants who say their business is doing well, managers of various stores in the mall – from the very large to the very small – say Newmarket Fair isn’t as good a place to do business as it once was because the number of people coming to the mall has declined.

The mall fell victim not only to increased competition from new malls but also to a change in the Peninsula’s demographics that makes it less convenient for people who have money to shop at Newmarket Fair, according to people in the business and a Christopher Newport University expert on local retail business.

“There were many days that I didn’t sell a penny’s worth of merchandise,” Staylor said. “At this point, I’ve been so financially devastated that I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue to operate this little shop.”

By the time she moved back to her original storefront near Hilton Village in November, she said business had been so bad that she wasn’t making enough to pay the rent and was forced to borrow money to pay the utilities.

Many Newmarket Fair retailers like Staylor have opted to close up shop or move to other locations.

About 40 percent of the mall’s retail space is vacant, according to Wilder Management Association, which took over as general partner of the mall’s owner, New Market North Associates, 18 months ago. By comparison, Coliseum Mall’s managers say their vacancy rate is 8 percent; Patrick Henry Mall’s, 3 percent.

Newmarket Fair’s management company declined to provide financial information on the mall’s performance or its merchants’ sales. But for 1994, the Hampton city assessor downgraded the value of the property – including the mall and the surrounding land – from $29.1 million to $21.1 million.

City chief commercial appraiser Al Lynch said his office reduced the taxable value because the large number of vacancies and the lack of shoppers led the city to conclude the mall isn’t worth what it once was.

“I think if you just walk through the mall and take a look, you’ll know why” the city lowered the assessment, Lynch said.

“The Virginia National Guard could practice weekend maneuvers out there, and they wouldn’t step on anyone,” said Robert Coker, a marketing professor at Christopher Newport University who follows the local retail business.

In an attempt to lure tenants to the struggling mall, Wilder Management will work out lease arrangements that include shorter than normal terms and ways for renters to break their lease without penalties.

“We know that we have many areas to improve at Newmarket, and that’s probably an understatement,” said Andrew LaGrega, Wilder’s vice president of leasing.

Wilder Management bought its share of the mall from Goodman Segar Hogan in September 1992 and took over as general partner after the Virginia Beach-based real estate developer and the mall’s limited partner couldn’t agree on a marketing strategy for the facility. Terms of the sale were not released.

The mall’s limited partner, a public pension fund, has never been named.

New Market North Associates bought the 800,000-square-foot mall for $34 milion in 1989 but lost one of its major tenants the following year when Miller & Rhoads closed its 120,000-square-foot anchor store. The Richmond-based chain went out of business six months after filing for bankruptcy in 1989.

Newmarket Fair’s owners spent $9 million on a facelift in 1991 that added dramatic skylights and a carousel, but they have yet to find a new tenant for the space Miller & Rhoads left behind.

The mall, on Mercury Boulevard close to Hampton’s boundary with Newport News, is currently negotiating with three possible tenants to take over parts of that space, said Charles Todd Duff, mall general manager.

Altering the mall to focus on discounted merchandise was the only way Goodman Segar Hogan thought the facility would thrive, said Robert M. Stanton, former Goodman Segar Hogan chairman.

“I think that a traditional mall in that location would have a serious problem,” said Stanton, who left Goodman Segar Hogan when it merged with Armanda/Hoffler Enterprises Inc. last year and started his own real estate investment company.

When the mall opened in 1975, it sat at the center of the Peninsula’s highest income area, Christopher Newport’s Coker said. In the years since, many of of the Peninsula’s higher-income residents have moved north of the Oyster Point area, into York County and Denbigh.

Location wouldn’t have been an issue for an outlet mall because people will travel further to get to a discount center, Stanton said.

Stanton said Goodman Segar Hogan was negotiating with two discount retailers – The Sports Authority and Burlington Coat Factory – to open stores in Newmarket Fair before it sold its interest in the mall.

In 1991 Leggett Stores Inc. converted part of its Newmarket store into the company’s first outlet center, offering discounted merchandise consolidated from other stores in the chain. The retailer later doubled in size the portion of the store set aside for outlet goods.

Despite Leggett’s success in the outlet market, the mall’s limited partner wanted Newmarket to remain a traditional mall. That’s when Goodman Segar Hogan decided to sell its stake, Stanton said.

Coker and retailers with stores in Newmarket Fair say the 19-year-old mall is stuck in a chicken-and-egg dilemma: Without more stores, the number of shoppers won’t grow. Without more shoppers, new stores won’t open there.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. has its only Peninsula store at Newmarket Fair, in a 245,000-square-foot facility that Sears owns. That is the mall’s only draw, Coker said. Without that store, the mall would probably go under, he said.

“Only those shoppers who are Sears-loyal make it” to the mall, Coker said.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago-based retailer declined to comment on individual store performance other than to say 1993 was a good year for the Hampton store.

But Coker predicted that, eventually, Sears will follow in the footsteps of many of Newmarket’s former retailers and move to another location. “I think it’s just a matter of time,” he said, adding a Sears move would devastate the mall.

Leggett, the mall’s other anchor store, also owns its Newmarket location. A spokesman for the family-owned store also declined to comment on store performance.

Many retailers say the 1990 closing of Miller & Rhoads, one of Newmarket’s original anchors, set off a decline for the mall that was hastened by that year’s recession.

That’s when Photo USA, which closed its Newmarket store this month after nine years in the mall, began to see a dramatic drop in sales, said Tom Tanner, company president.

“That store was not making any money,” said Tanner, who bought Roanoke-based Photo USA in January after it declared bankruptcy and its assets were liquidated by the court. As the Photo USA’s new owner, Tanner said, he was not liable for leases signed by the former owner.

LaGrega said Hampton’s decision to cut the assessed value of the mall by 27 percent – shaving $96,000 off its annual property taxes – may be a blessing in disguise for the facility.

“It’s better for us because it makes it easier for us to bring tenants in,” he said.

With less tax to pay, the mall can lower rents and still cover its costs, he said. The cheaper rents may help the struggling mall fill its vacant storefronts, said LaGrega, who declined to say how much Newmarket Fair charges for its retail space.

On average, small retail spaces on the Peninsula rent for anywhere from $6 to $14 a square foot, according to a 1993 Goodman Segar Hogan Hoffler survey of retail space.

Lower rent is one tactic the mall is using to help draw individually-owned stores like Staylor’s. Another is offering short-term leases, LaGrega said. Often, malls require retailers to sign leases that can last for as long as 10 years.

“They were willing to work with new businesses,” said Angie Rowe, co-owner of the International Art Gallery, which opened in the mall in December.

Rowe said she has a six-month lease with the option to negotiate a longer-term lease at the end of that time. The short lease gave her store the opportunity to test the waters in the mall before jumping in with both feet.

So far, she’s happy with the success of her new location.

The mall will negotiate short-term leases of six months to a year and set up leases whose rent is based on the store’s monthly sales, LaGrega said. The mall also reserves the right to terminate a lease if it doesn’t feel the retailer will succeed.

LaGrega says Newmarket’s managers are not willing to haphazardly fill empty storefronts with just any business. Unprofitable stores wouldn’t help the mall any more than vacant storefronts would, he said.

“The worst thing for a landlord is to have a tenants that aren’t doing business,” he said.


Since Miller & Rhoads went out of business and closed its Newmarket Fair location in January 1990, a variety of other stores have come and gone from the Hampton mall. Many of the stores that closed were part of large, regional or national chains while many of the stores to open are locally-owned, independent retailers. Some of the comings and goings include:



* Fortune Express (planned)


* International Art Gallery

* Top Dog

* Crystal Vibrations

* Tamika Fashions

* Lee Nails

* Mystic World

* Style Setters

* Extra Innings

* Products of India


* Tilt



* Photo USA


* Kinney Shoes

* Crystal Vibrations

* Stride Rite Bootery

* Original Great American Cookie

* The Limited


* Casual Corner

* B Dalton Bookseller

* Frederick’s of Hollywood

* Butler’s Shoe Store

* Dutch Maid Donut Ship

May 9, 2013

Razing For Revival: Mercury Shopping District Reborn From Rubble (Daily Press, August 23, 1999)

Razing For Revival: Mercury Shopping District Reborn From Rubble

1960s Mercury Plaza And Langley Square To Get More-modern Look
August 23, 1999|By FRED TANNENBAUM Daily Press

HAMPTON — Danny Shackelford and Kelly Jones deftly inserted their fingers and tools to fix videocassette recorders at the Langley Square repair shop that they work in off Mercury Boulevard. Outside, an electric saw screeched as it bit into a metal frame.

A little more than two miles west, the Mercury Plaza parking lot was occupied by unlikely vehicles – wrecking machines, including an excavator and pavement shredder. They’ve turned one wing of the old mall into fine rubble.

Langley Square and Mercury Plaza are separate places with different owners but with a common thread: Both 1960s-vintage malls are getting significant upgrades, giving them new lives along Hampton’s retail corridor. City officials said the refurbished malls would bolster the boulevard shopping district.

The work at Langley is having an effect.

“Business has gotten better. People are looking at the mall because of the work and see our signs,” Shackelford said Thursday. He repairs electronics at the Audio-Video Lab at Langley Square. “They used to just drive by.”

Once completed, the two refurbished malls will have a “tremendous impact” on Hampton’s shopping areas. It’s necessary to renovate them to keep them viable, said Kathy Grook, Hampton’s retail- development manager.

“Those centers are critical to our retail tax base,” she said. “We feel it’s very important that these renovations take place.”

The city has a program ready to help mall owners renovate their properties, in part through low- interest loans. The program is awaiting financing.

This summer, Mercury Plaza’s owners razed a building along its west side once occupied by a Farm Fresh grocery and other small shops. The supermarket had been vacant since a fire in 1997. Only a dry cleaners is left standing. Fashion Care Cleaners’ lease extends to December 31, 2000.

Mercury Plaza is owned by Mall Properties Inc. of New York, the owner of Coliseum Mall. Mercury Plaza General Manager Raymond Tripp said the site was being cleared to make it more attractive to a new tenant. Waiting for Farm Fresh fire-insurance claims to be settled has delayed site improvements about two years.

Rebuilding the grocery after the fire would have been expensive. “We thought it was more suitable to tear it down,” Tripp said.

A new tenant is not been signed, but Mall Properties is negotiating with potential occupants, Tripp said.

Eventually, Mall Properties wants to upgrade the exteriors of all Mercury Plaza stores, including Burlington Coat Factory, Circuit City and Home Quarters.

The Burlington store once housed a small mall that Tripp said was thought to be one of the Peninsula’s first.

“That site is a viable retail site and a good location,” Tripp said. “Those are the original structures that have served those neighborhoods well. We would like to come back with a retailer to support the neighborhood that has supported us so long.”

In addition to the Farm Fresh, the demolished building housed a music store and a beauty-supply store.

“We’re eager to renovate it and bring it up to standards,” Tripp said.

Langley Square is getting a complete face lift. A Food Lion supermarket and Family Dollar discount store are scheduled to open this fall.

There, a wooden tunnel leads to Audio-Video Lab’s front door, where Shackelford and Jones worked surrounded by VCRs, televisions and stereo equipment. Holding a soldering iron one minute and a cotton swab the next, Shackelford worked to bring new life to the VCR on his workbench.

The business owned by Bob McLain has seen some tough years, so the recent renovations are welcome. The construction even is attracting more customers, Shackelford said.

The Audio-Video Lab isn’t the only business making a go of it before and during the renovations, which started earlier this year. Ling Nam Asian restaurant, Vito’s Pizza, Fertitta’s Grill, a hair salon, and a coin laundry also remain open.

The new canopy over the sidewalk almost hides the blue-and-red neon “open” signs in many of their windows. Pallets of drywall sit where shoppers someday will stroll.

The mall’s landlord, John Katsias of Virginia Beach, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Jones, the Audio-Video Lab technician, said he was looking forward to sharing the mall with new tenants such as Food Lion.

“It’ll be nice having somewhere else to go for lunch,” he said.

Fred Tannenbaum can be reached at 247-4787 or by e-mail at


Burlington was shut down and moved to Coliseum Mall in 2003, and effectively killed Coliseum Mall because nobody wants a Burlington in their mall.

After Coliseum Mall was torn down in 2007, Burlington moved back into this EXACT spot (in a new building:

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 11.38.55 PM

The last time Google maps drove by this site was in 2007, so the new Burlington Coat Factory wasn’t open yet, and the building was just finished.

May 4, 2013

Former Target building sold to Goodwill Industries of Central Virginia – Daily Press

Filed under: dead stores,Hampton,Target — Anita @ 8:54 pm

Former Target building sold to Goodwill Industries of Central Virginia – Daily Press.

I just noticed this today when driving behind the old Target on the way to Wal Mart. There’s no sign up on the old Target yet, just Goodwill trucks in the back, and the cart deposit is painted “Goodwill Blue”.

Former Hampton department store now home for Goodwill
Target site shuttered since 2009 to get new use in late winter or early spring
September 12, 2012|By Robert Brauchle, | 757-247-2827

HAMPTON — Goodwill Industries of Central Virginia Inc. is opening a retail store and jobs center in the 118,000-square-foot building along Saville Row once occupied by a Target department store.

The non-profit agency has purchased the property behind Hampton Chevrolet for $3.7 million, according to property records. The property is assessed at $5.5 million.

Goodwill plans to run a retail store, outlet center, computer store, community employment center and support office in the facility once it opens in late winter or early spring, Goodwill Communications Manager Ellen Thornhill said.

The retail store will open first, she said, and the ancillary services, such as the computer store and employment center, will debut later.

“The stores are really the economic engine in our business we’re in, which is to try to get people employed by removing any kind of obstacles that may be in their way,” she said. “The stores will fund that mission.”

Items not sold in the retail store are then discounted further and moved to the outlet area.

At least 20 people will be employed in the retail area of the store once it opens. More employees will be hired as the space is filled with other services, Thornhill said.

“Goodwill executives met with the leadership of Coliseum Central and discussed their plans for the building,” Elizabeth McCoury, Coliseum Central Business Improvement District executive director, wrote in an emailed response to an inquiry about the Goodwill store.

“Goodwill is excited about their relocation and expansion within Coliseum Central,” McCoury wrote. “The new location will allow them to better serve the needs of their customers and further their mission.”

The building at 1911 Saville Row sits on 9.5 acres and was used from 1996 to 2009 as a Target. In addition to the car dealership, its neighbors are Walmart and Langley Federal Credit Union. The building was closed when a larger Target was built in Peninsula Town Center — a .7—mile drive from the Saville Row location.

Goodwill has headquarters in Richmond and Virginia Beach and operates retail locations in Hampton, Yorktown and Newport News.

Despite being a non-profit organization, Goodwill pays the full compliment of real estate, personal property, state sales and business license taxes, said Ross Mugler, Hampton’s Commissioner of Revenue.

Chris Rouzie handled negotiations on behalf of the buyer. He is the senior vice president and managing broker of Thalhimer, a member of the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance.

“We’ve been in Hampton Roads for decades, but we’re really excited to deepen our presence in the region and this is a big step in that direction,” Thornhill said.

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