Belk Slated For Valley Mall in Hagerstown

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Look very closely in the second column: Belk Opening 2018

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — Scroll too fast and you’ll miss it on the new Valley Mall brochure: Belk.

Belk’s name is tucked away on the second page of the new Valley Mall leasing brochure on the website of the mall’s owner, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust. Thanks to a reader for alerting me to the change.

The brochure simply says “Opening 2018.” Belk’s logo isn’t on the brochure, but it’s likely it could go in the former Macy’s space, but it’s still very possible it could go to Sears.

The smallest Belk is around 100,000 square feet. The shuttered Macy’s was around 120,000 square feet. Sears is 123,400 square feet. Last year, a leasing brochure showed that about half the space, or 52,325 square feet, would be available for lease.

The Washington County Board of Elections wants 20,000 square feet carved out of Macy’s for office space, leaving 100,000 square feet for Belk if the department store wants to open there. That seems easy enough. Good luck figuring out how to carve that space out if that happens.

Also, it is a coincidence that PREIT purchased the Macy’s space in April and now this brochure shows up a month later? Not really. In between, the International Council of Shopping Centers Retail Real Estate Convention (ReCon) was held in Las Vegas where stores, real estate developers and mall owners tried to make some deals.

Plenty of intrigue remains.

That brochure detailing that a store could lease half of Sears has disappeared from KLNB Retail’s website. However, Seritage’s quarterly reports show it still has rights to recapture half, but has not announced any plans for that space. The initial reports was that Sears wanted to test a smaller format. We haven’t seen that happen yet in Hagerstown.

Nothing has been filed under land records showing a sell or otherwise for Seritage in Hagerstown since it bought the Sears building.

Earlier this year, PREIT announced it would recapture three Sears locations and simultaneously announced retailers to replace those spaces. Hagerstown wasn’t one of those. Likely, because that Sears is not owned by PREIT. It’s owned by Seritage, who is leasing space back to Sears. That’s the company who found and brought BJ’s Brewhouse to the former Sears Auto Center. Seritage’s latest filing shows that BJ’s should be coming in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Baltimore Sun reported on April 1 that there wasn’t any new information on the Hagerstown Sears space. (However, that report overlooked the company’s quarterly report that showed the Cockeysville Sears will be partially replaced by a HomeGoods plus junior tenants and restaurants with most work done by the second quarter of 2018. The Bowie Sears Auto Center will also get a BJ’s Brewhouse.)

Here’s another issue for Belk: TownMall in Westminster. Belk only has two Maryland stores—the other in California, Md. TownMall was put into receivership, according to the Carroll County Times. That means a bank is in control of the mall, not a professional mall management company like PREIT, Simon, Westfield or Taubman. The court-appointed receiver, The Woodmont Co., is there to just keep things going until everything is settled. Woodmont’s website says it’s a receiver for 23 properties.

I’ve seen the after effects of malls placed in receivership and it’s not pretty. Some anchors and tenants have out clauses that can allow them to leave penalty free if certain actions happen (receivership, loss of X number of other anchors or if leasing falls below a certain percentage). Still, a store could close regardless of any penalty. If receivership drags on, I wouldn’t be surprised if Belk decides to close in Westminster if sales decline from a drop in foot traffic at the mall if other stores leave.

In fairness, while a store like Dillard’s left DeSoto Square mall in Bradenton, Fla., Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy’s stayed on through ownership changes and when the mall lost several national retailers. Macy’s would later close because a new store opened at The Mall at University Town Center. Closer to home, it’s a similar story at the Chambersburg Mall in Pennsylvania where certain anchors are able to hold on while the rest of the mall looks ghostly.

A Belk spokesman told the CCT on Thursday they’re not looking to leave Westminster:

Belk, another large department store that anchors TownMall, is similarly well situated, according to Andy Izquierdo, vice president of communications and community relations for Belk Inc.

“The Belk store in the TownMall of Westminster is doing well, so it is business as usual,” he said. “We have no plans to exit the Westminster market.”

No retailer or spokesman will say anything that could hurt sales and nobody announces closures until they actually close or legally have to announce a layoff. Still, I’d have to believe that store should do well regardless of what happens with the in-line tenants.

No building permits are on record for the Hagerstown Belk, yet. Stay tuned.

— Charles Schelle

This post has been updated.

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Hagerstown Macy’s Building Sold To Valley Mall Owner

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — The owner of the Valley Mall outside of Hagerstown, Md., has purchased the former Macy’s building.

A landholding company for Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust called PR Valley Anchor M- Limited Partnership, bought the shuttered Macy’s building attached to the Valley Mall for $2.5 million on April 7, according to a deed filed in Washington County.

The building was originally a Hecht’s department store that opened in 1999. Hecht’s was a Baltimore born retailer later owned by May Department Stores. Hecht’s and May Department Stores was acquired by Macy’s parent Federated Department Stores in 2005. The following year, Macy’s replaced Hecht’s name on its buildings, as it did with many other department stores it acquired.

The move gives the mall operator direct control over what goes into that space by being the sole owner. Sometimes malls can have messy relationships with shuttered anchors, with the anchors preferring to sell and market the property themselves to recapture some profit. That could cause a multi-year vacancy.

In March, the Washington County Board of Elections received approval from the Washington County Commissioners for a 20,000 square-foot space in the 120,000-square-foot building, according to a Herald-Mail report. That also shows that the former Macy’s will likely be carved out into multiple spaces for stores, offices and other uses.

 

Torrid, NTB File Building Permits for Valley Mall

160520_logoWASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — Trendy full-figure clothing store Torrid and car repair shop NTB have both filed building permits for new stores at the Valley Mall in Hagerstown, Md.

Torrid’s permit shows the store expects to have 10 employees and will go into the former CJ Banks space in the JC Penney wing. CJ Banks transformed into a Christopher and Banks a few doors down last year.

An opening date has not been announced. The store’s careers website shows Torrid is accepting applications for a manager, a full-time assistant manager, a part-time assistant manager and store associates.

Also, NTB has filed a site plan for a location along Valley Mall Road and Massey Boulevard for a spot beside Chuck-E-Cheese and Burger King.National_Tire_and_Battery_Logo.jpg

NTB, formerly known as National Tire and Battery, helps replace the shuttered Sears Auto Center where a BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse will be built. Job openings have not been posted for the Hagerstown location.

Both store openings were first reported on this blog in May 2016.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Coming to former Hagerstown Sears Auto

seattletukwilaWASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse will be coming to the former Sears Auto Center at the Valley Mall in Hagerstown, Md., in 2017.

According to a Seritage Growth Properties quarterly report, BJ’s Brewhouse, as it’s commonly called, is expected to start construction in the fourth quarter of this year and open in the fourth quarter of 2017, which is sometime between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017.

The restaurant will be about 7,000 to 8,000 square feet, according to a Seritage news release.

As I previously reported, both the Hagerstown Sears and Sears Auto Center properties are tagged for recapture of its retail spaces, advertised by KLNB. Seritage is a real estate investment trust whose main investments are Sears and Kmart properties, according to its website. Up to half of the Sears department store in the mall is being recaptured for an unnamed retailer and the Sears Auto Center, which closed in May, will be completely renovated. Actually, likely demolished and new space will be rebuilt.

The project is 15,000 square feet, according to the report, and “additional restaurant users” will have spaces there.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., restaurant group is a casual-plus operation that has four formats: BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, BJ’s Pizza and Grill and BJ’s Grill.

The signature dish at BJ’s is its deep dish pizza, and BJ’s offers vegetarian, gluten-free and other options among its pizzas, sandwiches, salads and more.

What’s impressive in the age of “no reservations” is that BJ’s does have a reservations policy:

We take reservations for large parties of 10 or more. Your party must be 75% complete in order to be seated. We generally do not take reservations for the first 30 days of a new restaurant opening, so that our new staff can become even more capable of servicing our large parties. Please contact your local BJ’s Restaurant for more information.

The Hagerstown location is tabbed right now as a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, which is a format the company is focused on expanding among its 175 restaurants and counting in 23 states. This would be the fourth location in Maryland behind Frederick, Laurel and Towson.Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.00.05 PM

The Restaurant & Brewhouse format does not have on-site brewing and the BJ’s branded beers are brewed by a partner, according to the restaurant’s website. No building permits have been filed as of June 14, but it’s unlikely the format would change.

— By Charles Schelle @ImYourChuck

Mission BBQ, Torrid and Sears Redevelopment coming to Valley Mall

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By Charles Schelle | ImYourChuck on WordPress

Follow on Twitter @ImYourChuck

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — The Valley Mall in Hagerstown, Md., will see about a dozen changes this year as it continues its redevelopment to focus on adding restaurants and experiential retail to cater to millennials.

I covered these in separate posts on my Facebook page and will condense it all here. There’s a lot going on as retailers are shuffling around to fit in all of these changes.

So, here…we…go…

Here’s what’s coming and then I’ll go into how this all makes sense. The information comes from both Washington County Department of Planning records and a leasing brochure for the mall from its owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, or PREIT.

NEW

Relocated

  • Journeys and Journeys Kidz
  • Tobacco Den
  • Allegany Optical

Leaving

  • Sears Auto Center (closed in May) [See above for update]
  • Potentially half of Sears’ department store

Mission BBQ

The former Susquehanna Bank near the Sears entrance and current Tobacco Den space is being carved out for several projects, creating three spaces along the mall’s facade to continue a town center look.

Mission BBQ and the Valley Mall have now filed a building permit for its construction for the new restaurant on Thursday, according to county records, in part of that space. It will be located next to the mall entrance.

The 4,000-square-foot restaurant will feature an outdoor patio and will be open 11 a.m. to 9 .m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, according to the permit application. Continue reading Mission BBQ, Torrid and Sears Redevelopment coming to Valley Mall