Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wilde Lake Village Center: Lets See Some Leases

 2013 has been a busy year for Wilde Lake Village Center. Not only has the long awaited redevelopment begun, but a new Co-Anchor, CVS Pharmacy has signed on to have a new store built on the grounds of what is now the Crown Gas Station. Crown's lease is up at the end of the year which is two days away at the time of this post. We can expect construction to begin  once Crown has vacated the site and a new CVS in Wilde Lake sometime in 2015.
We've already seen some movement around the Center. The UPS Store, originally on Lynx Lane, has moved into the main courtyard taking part of the old Feet First location. Today's Catch Seafood Market, the lone survivor left in the building that once housed the ill-fated Giant has moved in between Anthony Richard Barber Shop and Absolutely Wine and Spirits. This space had most recently housed The Medicine Shoppe, a small Pharmacy that parted ways with Wilde Lake soon after the Giant. Both of these businesses appear to have settled well in their new digs. 
On the demolition front, the Buildings that housed the Giant and Produce Galore are no more. Kimco wasted no time in demolishing these long vacant eye sore that also house many of my childhood memories. Although Produce Galore remained at the Center another years and a half after Giant's departure, its building was demolished and level first and for good reason. The site of the former Produce Galore is the now the site that a brand new David's Natural Market will be built. David's is still in its old Lynx Lane building next to its new building that's being erected as we speak. The goal for Kimco and the Owners of David's is for David's to close its old store one night and re open in its new location the next morning. 
With all this new redevelopment energy in the air, the future seems the brightest it's been for Wilde Lake in a long time. In addition to existing stores like David's and Today's Catch finding new homes in the Center, room to add brand stores to the Center will be added as long as spaces that are currently vacant and won't be torn down. And they are........?????
Well there's the CVS, I mentioned that already so that leaves the new.......???? Hmmm, so far there aren't any new leases Kimco has announced at this time. The way Kimco was selling the redevelopment plan (I was present when the plan was unveiled to the public and made a snide remark about the lack of a Full Service Grocer right to the Vice President of Kimco's face) they would have you believe that perspective tenants would be banging their doors down waiting to sign leases at the new Wilde Lake Village Center. Apparently that hasn't been the case. In fact quite the opposite has been the case. 
Since redevelopment has started, the Center has actually LOST tenants. Either they had no intention of weathering the storm of construction, Kimco didn't renew their leases, or Kimco raised their rent too high. We know the reason for the Crown Gas Station's soon to be departure but what about the others? Since Jun 30, 2013 (ironically the 46 year anniversary of Columbia's dedication) the Center has lost; The Columbia Bank, Wilde Lake Cleaners, Hunan Family, and Acheivers Hair Salon. In defense of all but the Dry Cleaners, their buildings have been or will be demolished. 
Now a couple of these Businesses could have relocated to vacant storefronts that have not and will not be demolished, the route that Today's Catch and The UPS Store have taken. There's the other half of the old Feet First building that could have housed one of the smaller businesses and the boarded up KFC building could have taken the Columbia Bank. Heck it even has a drive-thru!
Granted, the construction of Wilde Lake Village Center is only in its infancy and perhaps I'm over reacting to the lack of forthcoming leases or the flight of Businesses who don't want to weather the storm of construction but I do care enough about the future of the Center to bring it up. I hope that as buildings continued to be torn down and rebuilt and the finished product begins to take shape that new leases will start coming down the pipeline. 
It would be hard to imagine a new Dry Cleaner, new Bank, new Hair Salon, new Restaurant  etc. signing a lease when they can't even occupy their new space until 2015! CVS, I could understand signing early as it is the cornerstone of the redevelopment and larger tenants usually sign leases much further in advance than smaller ones. I guess what I'm saying is, if there haven't been any announced additions this time next year, I would feel more obliged to say; Lets See Some Leases!