|Granite Run to be modeled after Hunt Valley Towne Center|
What people need to understand is that this won't be the same shopping format that launched the mall back in the seventies. That concept that included big retail stores anchoring the three corners of the mall worked back then, but now it's a whole new ball game. Those stores Sears, JCPenny and Boscov's have long term leases and are expecting to remain, but the proposed town center will go after entertainment, restaurants and medium to higher end retail. To energize that strategy a new movie theater is expected at the center of the proposed development. If you're trying to visualize what that may entail, check out Hunt Valley Towne Center in Maryland. Why Hunt Valley Towne Center? Well, that was the property developed by the current owners, BET and is serving as the model for the Granite Run Towne Center. To get an idea of what that is like, check out that towne center's website or Facebook page.
Unlike Hunt Valley, the Granite Run site will NOT be getting a Wegmans. That's been confirmed with two reasons given: 1) There are plans for a Wegmans in Concordville which isn't far enough away to put another one here. 2) The mall's current site doesn't have the square area to put something as big as a Wegmans. One reason being that there is a pipeline that runs through the mall's property and is located between Sears and the Acme. That doesn't mean there aren't big names interest in this property, there are, and a lot of them. Before I get to that, let's talk about Acme.
With all the proposals going on, Acme is looking to step up its game with a new cafe and possibly a whole remodel of their store. Acme is very interested in the walk friendly paths that BET is looking to introduce that should go over well with residents. Yep, there will be residents. BET has come out and stated that two residential apartment structures are needed and without them they may not have the attraction to make the who deal work. A company called Avalon Bay is expected to develop the apartment complexes with monthly rents around $1,500 to $1,800. These will be marketed towards young professionals and empty nesters. The layout is still yet to be determined, but expect some of the higher end apartments that this area has ever seen. That may include concierge services, collaborative work spaces, common social areas, fitness centers and living space with one to two bedrooms. In fact, they're looking to do 385 units with a projected accommodation of about 584 people. (those are BET's numbers, not mine).
Before I get to the good stuff, there are some interesting facts that really speak volumes of how badly the mall has lost value over 15 years. Back in 2000, the mall's assessed value was over $100 million with a yearly school tax revenue of $2.3 million. For 2015, the value is projected to be $21 million with a school tax revenue of just over $600,000.
Okay, so who's interested in setting up business here?! I've saved the best for last and here's why: BET isn't some small group of investors who just wanted to get into the towne center business. They are well financed, experienced at this type of development and are probably the best group that can pull something like this off. There's A LOT yet to play out but BET has publicly stated that they have had discussions with Urban Outfitters who in their own right could really attract some very nice businesses and restaurants to this development. BET went on to state that they have an impressive list and interest from business looking to be apart of this, but as these things go, each is looking to see who makes a move. I suppose it's a lot like going to a school dance, you want to know who you'll see there before making the effort to go.