De­vel­oper scraps plans for Hanover out­let mall

Re­cent ho­tel open­ing seen as sign that area can thrive on its own

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Front Page - BY TAMMIE SMITH Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch

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SATUR­DAY, SEPTEM­BER 30, 2017

NEWS 24/7 AT RICH­MOND.COM

A long-planned out­let mall along In­ter­state 95 in Hanover County is not mov­ing for­ward.

The Out­lets at Rich­mond

FI­NAL was to be de­vel­oped by New­port Beach, Calif.-based Craig Realty Group, which op­er­ates 15 out­let cen­ters in nine states, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site.

The 400,000-square-foot mall was to be lo­cated at the north­east cor­ner of Lak­eridge Park­way and Lewis­town Road, in the North­lake Busi­ness Park, off In­ter­state 95’s exit 89.

“At this time, the de­vel­oper is no longer pur­su­ing an out­let cen­ter in Hanover,” Kay Pan­graze, Craig Realty’s lo­cal project man­ager, said in a Fri­day morn­ing story by Rich­mond BizSense.

Pro­pos­als to de­velop an out­let mall in Hanover date back al­most a decade.

“I had a feel­ing that it wouldn’t move for­ward. It was just tak­ing too long to get

started,” said Brian Glass, se­nior vice pres­i­dent at the Rich­mond and Nor­folk of­fices of Col­liers In­ter­na­tional, a com­mer­cial real es­tate firm.

“In my opin­ion, out­let malls have peaked. There are fewer vi­able re­tail­ers, and the mer­chan­dise they sell is not al­ways what they sell in their stores,” he said. “Fur­ther­more, on­line op­tions have in­creased, so why bother mak­ing the trip to an out­let mall, un­less you’re on va­ca­tion?”

Hanover Su­per­vi­sor Wayne Haz­zard said early Fri­day that he had not heard that the Out­lets would not be de­vel­oped, but he cited the re­cent open­ing of a ho­tel nearby as a sign that the area can thrive on its own.

“I think the area is con­tin­u­ing to de­velop with­out it,” Haz­zard said. “We’ve made it this far with­out them.”

In 2008, Hori­zon Group Properties LLC an­nounced plans for a mall in the Wind­ing Brook de­vel­op­ment, but it dropped the idea two years later.

Craig Realty then stepped in as po­ten­tial de­vel­oper, buy­ing land in the North­lake Busi­ness Park in De­cem­ber 2012.

The mall was to be built on 31.4 acres of the 400-acre busi­ness park. The first phase had called for about 273,000 square feet of space for about 35 to 40 out­let stores plus restau­rants and spe­cialty food stores. A sec­ond phase was sup­posed to add about 127,000 square feet — about two dozen more stores — and a fivelevel park­ing deck.

In De­cem­ber 2015, Craig Realty an­nounced that Un­der Ar­mour, Ba­nana Repub­lic and Gap were on­board with the project. In July 2016, a spokes­woman said the project had signed three more ten­ants: chil­dren’s cloth­ing re­tail­ers OshKosh B’gosh and Carter’s, plus restau­rant chain Johnny Rock­ets.

But the re­tail land­scape is shift­ing, with many re­tail­ers beef­ing up their on­line pres­ence and scal­ing back on brick-and-mor­tar stores. Of­fi­cials at Gap Inc. said in Septem­ber that the com­pany would close about 200 un­der­per­form­ing Gap and Ba­nana Repub­lic stores over the next year and fo­cus on e-com­merce and its growth brands: Old Navy and Ath­leta.

A mar­ket anal­y­sis of the com­mer­cial re­tail real es­tate sec­tor by Cush­man & Wake­field | Thal­himer for the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017 shows an over­all va­cancy rate of 5.9 per­cent in the Rich­mond area, an in­crease from 5.1 per­cent dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of 2016.

“The project has been planned for many years. The cur­rent owner is ca­pa­ble, but clearly they were un­able to get firm com­mit­ments from a suf­fi­cient num­ber of re­tail­ers to make the project a re­al­ity,” said Lee Warfield, pres­i­dent and CEO of Cush­man & Wake­field | Thal­himer.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing since the site had some pos­i­tive as­pects, such as a nearby an­chor re­tailer draw in Bass Pro Shops and sub­stan­tial traf­fic counts on I-95.”

Craig Realty, which did not re­turn calls for com­ment Fri­day, owns sev­eral parcels in the busi­ness park. Its plans for the parcels are not known.

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