Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What's New in Laveen Retail

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.


ZeroInertia said...

I curious about the demographic buckets within laveen, do you have those statistics?

ZeroInertia said...

I curious about the demographic buckets within laveen, do you have those statistics?

Jan said...

great. just what we need. another cheap market with bad food items. Isn't wal-mart bad enough? I wish we could get a Micheals or Joann's craft store. We are so tired of having to drive to Avondale & Goodyear.

PTB said...

ZeroInertia, I'm not sure what Laveen's demographic groupings are like, but we ran some data from ESRI last year and found some great diversity. Overall, Laveen boasts higher than average income and net worth, although both are skewed to the left (meaning there's a divide between the wealthy and lower middle income groups). Also, our ethnic diversity is about as mixed up as I've ever seen, which is a huge bonus to attracting a broader set of retailers.

Jan, not sure which cheap food market you're describing, but please don't expect that Hacienda Mercado will fit that description. I've been to the one in Hayward, CA, and was blown away at what an interesting place it was (and even more interestingly it was right across from a shopping center that looks almost exactly like our empty Mervyn's one).

35th/Southern is a challenging intersection to evaluate, given the immediate area's aesthetics and mix of businesses, so I welcome any good news for those shopping centers. Plus, 35th Avenue is regarded as a major N/S arterial street because of the fact that it bridges the river. Maybe it's a major road for some of our neighbors (warehouse employees? county employees?), but I still haven't found any need for it except for an occasional detour when I'm headed out of town on the I-17 north. Any thoughts?

Tyrene said...

I second the vote for a craft store. I would also like a Border's or comparable book store, and honestly, I would love a private yoga/pilates studio (not really excited about LA Fitness).

PTB said...

I agree that a yoga studio would be great. Do you know anyone who could start one here? If so, please tell them about the opportunity.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure why we should be excited about a Goodwill store replacing Mervyns. So what - I won't be inconvenienced 2x a year when want to drop off a load of items.

A Goodwill store is not the type of retail I would want for this area. And, frankly - I don't see a Trader Joes, a Crate and Barrel or other mid-retail chains going in near or next to a Goodwill store.

I'm a little more ambitious for this area.

PTB said...

Funny, my wife Catherine has commented to me in the last couple of days that we need a craft store and a yoga store--totally coincidental to this story and your comments.

Erika, I wouldn't expect those kinds of retailers to be interested in 35th/Southern. Crate and Barrel tends to prefer regional lifestyle centers. Trader Joe's looks for higher immediate neighborhood demographics (as do higher-end lifestyle centers, typically). That said, I would love to see a TJ's and a craft/fabric store at 35th/Baseline, and I think they may both make sense there.

But for the record, for anyone who fears that a Goodwill store is somehow going to destroy the community's image.... The Scottsdale Goodwill store is 2.4 miles from Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom, and the rest of Scottsdale Fashion Square. It's even closer to old town Scottsdale and all its nice restaurants and bars (a couple of those are within a quarter mile of Goodwill). The Tempe store is a mile from Trader Joe's and a mile from Whole Foods. Both of these are relatively new locations, as Goodwill has managed to move from slightly less desirable nearby neighborhoods (and let's not forget the 16th Street store located a mile south of the Biltmore).

I think I'll have to further elaborate on our community's outlook in a separate post....