VOL. 127 | NO. 227 | Tuesday, November 20, 2012
By Andy Meek
Collierville has lost an avenue. The town’s 60-acre “lifestyle center” – the largest in the Memphis metropolitan area – has changed its name as part of a transition started this spring, when Memphis-based Poag Lifestyle Centers bought what then was known as The Avenue Collierville.
Collierville’s Carriage Crossing, a 60-acre “lifestyle center” at Tenn. 385 and Houston Levee Road in the western edge of town, recently received a new name and new owners.
(Photos: Lance Murphey)
The property, an open-air, 712,000-square-foot collection of about 70 retailers and 10 restaurants, now has dropped the “avenue” from its name, leaving shoppers with what they’d tended to call the mall anyway – Carriage Crossing.
A ribbon cutting was held earlier this month, and signage has been adjusted, to formally mark the change.
Now, it’s on to even more pressing tasks. The mall’s new owners are looking to improve on the center’s current occupancy rate of about 90 percent and do what they can to keep driving traffic to the 7-year-old collection of shops anchored by Macy’s, Dillard’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Barnes & Noble.
A good sign for that task: Poag, which partnered with an affiliate of New York-based registered investment adviser DRA Advisors on the purchase, at the moment is seeing a lot of interest in Carriage Crossing from potential tenants, according to Josh Poag, president and CEO of Poag Lifestyle Centers.
“Six months into it, we’re more excited than when we originally bought it,” Poag said. “And that interest from prospective tenants is really the name of the game for us, as we try to lease up the vacant space and make the center as successful as possible.
“The location of the site is also just perfect for the way Memphis is growing.”
Carriage Crossing general manager Susan Eads described the center – which also offers family-focused draws like fundraisers, outdoor activities, concerts and an outdoor movie series – as a centralized gathering place for the Collierville community, not to mention the shoppers that come from areas beyond.
Shoppers walk along a sidewalk at Collierville’s Carriage Crossing. The mall features more than 70 retailers, merchants and specialty restaurants.
It’s a pedestrian-friendly center that features national retailers, select local merchants and specialty restaurants.
“We’re just a lovely center,” Eads said. “I think Memphians were originally thinking this would be too long of a place to walk around. But now people love to walk and just have an enjoyable experience.”
She pointed to new additions like Things Remembered and Low Arts Tea Haven. The center’s Macy’s store, which never had a home goods department, launched one in September, and Eads said it hopefully will “help us pick up a lot of Black Friday traffic.”
“We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline,” she said. “We’ve done some surveys where shoppers say they want more fast casual dining, and we’ve got some exciting things there lined up, too. We should know more by the end of the year.
“The (Tenn.) 385 loop also will help once it’s finished. There’s a big buzz in the leasing industry about that. Once that’s complete, I think we will be the destination for shopping in the Memphis area.”
Poag Lifestyle Centers is the original developer of The Shops of Saddle Creek in Germantown. Saddle Creek is emblematic of what had been Poag’s traditional business, ground-up development of lifestyle centers, but over the last 18 months the firm has pursued the acquisition of lifestyle centers across the country as a new business thread.
It’s partly because of financing.
“We’re always looking at growth,” Poag said. “From a development perspective, the biggest issue there is financing. It’s hard to come by these days on the ground-up side, especially for retail. Right now, we are continuing to chase lifestyle centers that are up for sale.”