As mentioned in my last post, I've been traveling a little during the month of May.... One of those trips was to the International Council of Shopping Centers' annual conference in Las Vegas, where I confirmed that Goodwill signed a lease or build-to-suit agreement for 35th Avenue and Southern (Mervyn's center). This may be a welcome note to my readers, or not; but I will say that we have merely caught up with the rest of the valley in welcoming one of their stores to our community (see http://www.goodwillaz.org/locator for a map of existing locations). After driving all the way to their Tempe store on Saturday with a truck full of stuff, I guess I'm happy to have a closer donation center.
From this information, I made two observations. One is that we will finally have a tenant generating legitimate traffic to this shopping center, which is good (aside from US Bank, of course, which is still open for legitimate business). The other is that Goodwill is planning for a pad location, which verifies past news from Staubach representatives that they have secured other users for the empty Mervyn's space. I need to put in a call to Michael to verify the proposed tenants, but last I heard it was a Ross and Hacienda Mercado (California-based Mexican grocery).
So that leaves two more empty shopping ceneters in our area: 35th/Baseline and 27th/Baseline. I have heard rumors that both of these are going back to the banks (more or less confirmed for 35th/Baseline). While I know of several investors who have made offers on the Laveen Village Center (35th), I can't imagine what anyone would do with the smaller one at 27th/Baseline. Let's just say that I think we'll see activity at 35th before anywhere else. However, this center is owned by Bank of the West, and they fail to understand why they need to let go of it at a slight discount (despite their REO holdings rising to 17% of total assets in the last year). I sense that they are lobbying for a treasury deal, but will eventually find wisdom either on their own or with the help of a judge--if the original developer declares bankruptcy while still in control of the asset. Believe me, I'll be watching this one closely and keeping you posted.
Final word for today.... This may be surprising, but we have some new development activity to note. According to Mike Moreines of Terrazona Properties, his group is preparing to begin work on their LA Fitness-anchored center at 51st/Baseline. The pads have been sold to MidFirst Bank and a couple more fast food restaurants to be named in the future (I may have blogged about this already). The lease with LA Fitness is less assured, although Mike said that he would definitely bring in a gym...... I really hope it's LA Fitness and not some local place that cuts corners.