Parkway Center Mall developer plans large changes after loss of Kmart
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Kmart's decision to pull out of Parkway Center Mall after the holidays has convinced the mall's owner to stop trying find a new tenant for the existing property and start from scratch on a redevelopment plan that could bring sweeping change.
Although a Giant Eagle grocery store at the mall along the Parkway West just past the Fort Pitt Tunnel is committed to staying for at least five more years, Kossman Development Co. notified the remaining tenants -- several smaller operations -- it will not renew their leases.
The smaller stores are expected to close by around Jan. 6, said Steve Weisbrod, vice president of business development for the Pittsburgh real estate company.
He said the tenants, which include a GNC store, an optical store and a karate studio, have been offered locations at other Kossman properties but none are in the Green Tree area that Parkway Center serves.
Parkway Center Mall, which holds about 500,000 square feet of retail space on different levels, was built in 1982.
It has struggled in recent years, triggered in part by a period when three major tenants -- Syms, Phar-Mor and CompUSA -- all moved out within six months, each for different reasons, Mr. Weisbrod said.
"That really is what changed the complexion of the site," he said. "We had some pretty viable retailers."
That Kmart had not signed a long-term lease hampered efforts at getting commitments from new tenants in recent years. Small stores in particular need to know there will be anchor stores to help draw in customers.
Kmart announced in September that it had decided not to renew its lease for the property and that the store would close in early January.
Kossman will start working on a new plan for the 19-acre site, he said. It could involved tearing down part or all of the mall, depending on the needs of any tenants that commit. The developer could even see building a new store for Giant Eagle, while the existing one remains open.
Mr. Weisbrod said large tenants have shown interest in the past but they need to be able to have a structure that fits a certain prototype.
"We like to think the location is good," he said.
It could take awhile to see major change on the property, he said, noting that many national retailers have a two- or three-year long development process.
It's unlikely the existing mall would be reused exactly as it stands, Mr. Weisbrod said.
"A total redevelopment," he said, "offers a lot more opportunity and flexibility."
First Published October 11, 2012 2:10 pm