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VOL. 129 | NO. 253 | Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Retailers Setting Eyes on Memphis

By Amos Maki

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The Memphis-area retail sector, fueled by several new retailers entering the market and a massive amount of grocery-based activity, experienced a strong 2014.

The Memphis-area retail sector, fueled by several new retailers entering the market and a massive amount of grocery-based activity, experienced a strong 2014. The Fresh Market opened a new Midtown store on Union Avenue in 2014.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Grocery store activity came into full bloom this year, with market leader Kroger investing heavily in its stores and higher-end, organic-focused chains targeting the market for growth.

Sprouts Farmers Market began redeveloping two shuttered grocery store locations – the former Kroger at 9050 U.S. 64 in Lakeland and the former Schnucks at The Shops of Forest Hill in Germantown – as it enters the Memphis market, the first new grocery chain to enter the area in several years.

In August, Fresh Market opened its Union Avenue store in Midtown and construction of a new Whole Foods store at Poplar Avenue and Pete Mitchell Road in Germantown is now underway. Whole Foods also completed the redesign and expansion of its East Memphis store in 2014.

Meanwhile, Kroger continued to pour money into area stores.

Kroger has invested a little over $50 million in the Memphis area over the last three years and will invest north of an additional $50 million over the next three years.

“It was definitely a big year for grocery stores,” said Danny Buring of The Shopping Center Group LLC.

Speaking of upgrades, a renovation of the Shops at Saddle Creek was launched this year.

Texas-based Trademark Property Co. is expanding the portion of the 148,000-square-foot lifestyle center on the southwest side of Poplar and West Street in Germantown. Demolition began on 20,000 square feet of existing space before building 40,000 square feet of new space. The project also includes remodeled building exteriors for Saddle Creek South and West, facade updates for Saddle Creek North and upgraded plazas, lighting, signage and landscaping.

The year also saw several new retail operations enter the Memphis market or announce plans for an area presence.

Texas-based retailer Conn’s Appliances inked leases for two Memphis locations.

The company opened a Conn’s Home Plus store in May at the Cross Creek Shopping Center at Riverdale Road and Tenn. 385. In December, Conn’s signed a lease to open a new 50,000-square-foot store in the Austin Peay Plaza at 3250 Austin Peay Highway.

“When you think about the big super-regional plays they’re always going to be along the interstate and I think you’re going to see a lot of retail surrounding it.”

–Danny Buring

LA Fitness, the California-based fitness chain, launched two new facilities in the market.

LA Fitness is building a store next to the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us store in the Centennial Commons shopping center. Marshalls is moving east down Winchester Road to join LA Fitness at that location. LA Fitness is also opening a location on U.S. 64 east of Interstate 40 in Lakeland.

Stockholm-based Hennes & Mauritz AB, better known as H&M, signed a lease to open a store at the Carriage Crossing lifestyle center in Collierville in 2015.

Swedish retail giant Ikea announced in December that it will open a 225-employee store on a 35-acre site in Memphis near Interstate 40 and Germantown Parkway in 2016.

Poag Lifestyle Centers was busy in 2014.

The company turned over the reins of the dormant Highland Row project near the University of Memphis to Indianapolis-based developer Milhaus Ventures, which is moving forward with the mixed-use development.

Memphis-based Poag Lifestyle also brought a major player in the development of outlet malls aboard the long-planned effort to build a massive outlet mall in Southaven.

Poag Lifestyle and Tanger Outlets, which has a portfolio of 44 outlet centers in 26 markets in the U.S. and Canada, are working to make the $113 million outlet mall at Interstate 55 and Church Road a reality. Tanger recently announced in marketing materials that it was working to meet “pre-leasing thresholds” for the outlet mall by the end of 2014.

Buring said Southaven, which has several large tracts of undeveloped land and is in close proximity to over 2 million greater Mid-South residents, was an ideal fit for a large outlet mall.

Buring said the proposed outlet mall’s proximity to Interstate 55 is a major plus for the project and that the mall would be a boon for the Church Road area.

“When you think about the big super-regional plays they’re always going to be along the interstate and I think you’re going to see a lot of retail surrounding it,” said Buring. “I think it’s a major game changer for Church Road.”

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 39 190
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0