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Old 06-06-2016, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Seattle
6,514 posts, read 14,776,331 times
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I definitely could agree with your concept of knitting the site back into the fabric of the city. In other words, integrating the street network onto the property, building some multi-family housing on-site to encourage walkability, perhaps selectively tear down parts of the structure to make the innards more easily accessible. I think that's the only blueprint to success for some malls, but not others. (EG, Johnson City's is fine.)

The Target development was a big blunder, but from a city perspective, it can be really hard to shepherd development in this way. Developers will do what they want, and there is massive political pressure to upzone to high intensity commercial along major arterials. And unfortunately, whoever's owned the mall has done a really poor job of positioning it as a prime commercial investment spot, making it essentially much less economical to develop than a raw pad on a highway with guaranteed anchors like Target and Ulta.

Totally agree about the aquatic center: this could have been a great catalyst for the site. But, Kingsport has long been enamored with the noose around its neck (the Meadowview) and trying to incentivize its use by putting other uses there, as well.
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Old 12-19-2016, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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Kingsport Times-News: 'We're not going to let this mall fail'

The property owner, Hull Property Group, put a forth a statement today recommitting themselves to the Fort Henry Mall.

James Hull's plan is to renovate the interior of the mall for around $4 million before attempting to secure tenants, and they're also going to seek some sort of incentive package from the city, leaving Kingsport taxpayers on the hook for this failing and mismanaged mall.

My guess is that the deal goes down somewhat like the Bristol Mall deal where the interior gets renovated, then the place goes belly up, but I doubt it will take that long.
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
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Well, that didn't take long! The city has already given the develop an incentives package.
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 825,761 times
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Desperation leads to unwise decisions.

If this developer truly thought the renovation would lead to the mall's rejuvenation and had commitments from retailers there would be no need for an incentives package. I've never been a fan of retail incentives as it is truly a sector where the market should dictate development. The Johnson City mall undertook a large renovation around 2008, in the middle of a recession, and never asked for incentives.

If I were a taxpayer in Kingsport I would not be very happy right now. Especially after seeing the lack of ROI with some recent incentivized projects like Pure Foods(closed) and Eastman(layoffs instead of hiring).
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Old 12-22-2016, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerred View Post
Desperation leads to unwise decisions.

If this developer truly thought the renovation would lead to the mall's rejuvenation and had commitments from retailers there would be no need for an incentives package. I've never been a fan of retail incentives as it is truly a sector where the market should dictate development. The Johnson City mall undertook a large renovation around 2008, in the middle of a recession, and never asked for incentives.

If I were a taxpayer in Kingsport I would not be very happy right now. Especially after seeing the lack of ROI with some recent incentivized projects like Pure Foods(closed) and Eastman(layoffs instead of hiring).
The whole deal is beyond idiotic. The mall has been on the decline for years. Little to no effort has been made to retain retail in the core city of Kingsport. The Target development is literally on the periphery of the city. Where the old Kingsport Mall once stood (where Hobby Lobby and that stuff is now) also seems to be losing tenants - I know some stuff in the edge building where Marble Slab is has left since I moved off and came back. Ten years ago would have been the time to take action to save the mall - businesses have moved on, behavior has changed, and now they're trying to do something on an emergency basis from behind the eight ball.

Kingsport Times-News: BMA approves tax break incentive for mall renovation

The "payment in lieu of taxes" is essentially a property tax reduction that spans TWENTY YEARS. Hull stated in the press release earlier this week that the plan is to "renovate the building, then the tenants will come." If tenants are the issue, and let's face it, this mall doesn't have much anymore, drop the rent low enough to get something in there, then renovate the property to retain and attract new/better quality tenants and to justify raising the rent down the road.

They're doing this completely backwards. Hull's investment in the property is likely going to be down the drain - renovating a mall that doesn't have quality shopping isn't going to magically attract people, and the city is going to forego property taxes on the place.
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
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You're right that renovating the mall is going to have little impact on attracting retail; especially higher-end and market-exclusive stores that Kingsport wants and is I'm sure expecting. I'm no expert on retail recruitment but I would venture to guess that factors such as area income, population, and traffic counts matter much more than the physical building.

Going back again to the JC mall, it is in serious need of sprucing up. The wing where Goody's used to be, now home to DSW and XXI Forever is decent but the rest of the mall is straight out of the 1990's. Way too much Pepto Bismol pink. However, they have no trouble attracting unique and desirable tenants. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the mall's owner, WP Glimcher, whose portfolio of malls around the country include many in major metros that cater to middle and higher income shoppers.

I was looking at Hull Property Group's website and their properties consist of local malls in small towns/metros mainly in the Southeast. Places like Greenwood, SC; Rome, GA; and Decatur, AL. Browsing Hull Group's and their properties' websites along with WP Glimcher and their properties is a night and day difference. If I were Kingsport's leadership, knowing that your mall needs to compete with the Mall at Johnson City and The Pinnacle, there's no way I would give this type of incentive to Hull.

This debacle is just the latest in a series of events highlighting the lack of innovative thinking and visioning by the City's leadership.
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Old 12-22-2016, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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I nearly busted out laughing that they want to make it a "fashion type mall." Kingsport has a lot of old people and it's certainly not fashionable in any sense.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Gray, TN
2,163 posts, read 3,964,106 times
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1. If you give a property tax incentive program to a mall that goes belly up, what do you lose? Nothing, as long as the incentive does not carry to future owners.
2. I thought read recently that they wanted a more services based mall - get away from reliance on fashion.
3. If you're not a fan of retail incentives, that is the mindset that sent the Falls and the Pinnacle to Bristol instead of the logical place - The Crossings. The whole region lost because Kingsport didn't want to compete for retail. It was a huge miss that will negatively affect the layout of the region for decades.
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 825,761 times
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Quote:
3. If you're not a fan of retail incentives, that is the mindset that sent the Falls and the Pinnacle to Bristol instead of the logical place - The Crossings. The whole region lost because Kingsport didn't want to compete for retail. It was a huge miss that will negatively affect the layout of the region for decades.
I'm perfectly ok with what Kingsport did in regards to The Crossings. That site should be used for manufacturing/distribution; not retail. Trying to develop The Crossings into some major retail destination is the very definition of sprawl and total unsustainable in the long run. Any site that is only accessible via automobile is setting itself up for future failure.

The Fort Henry Mall site, being in the center of a high population density area, is a golden opportunity to develop a retail/mixed use complex with an eye towards to future. Extend neighboring streets through the complex, recruit unique shops and restaurants, and develop a good multi-use connection to downtown. It could be Kingsport's own little "mid-town". Alas, the local thinking is 10-20 years behind the times.
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Old 12-26-2016, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,477 posts, read 21,364,064 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rccrain View Post
1. If you give a property tax incentive program to a mall that goes belly up, what do you lose? Nothing, as long as the incentive does not carry to future owners.
2. I thought read recently that they wanted a more services based mall - get away from reliance on fashion.
3. If you're not a fan of retail incentives, that is the mindset that sent the Falls and the Pinnacle to Bristol instead of the logical place - The Crossings. The whole region lost because Kingsport didn't want to compete for retail. It was a huge miss that will negatively affect the layout of the region for decades.
You lose the difference between what you would have collected with no incentive and whatever you collected with the incentive over that period of time. It's likely to be a significant loss. In the case of the mall, probably tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps hundreds of thousands, if this thing drags out for years.

If they want to turn it into a services based mall with doctor's offices and other things that aren't dependent on heavy customer foot traffic, why renovate preemptively?

The Falls is sitting there doing very little. The Pinnacle is a success, but not fully fleshed out yet. I'm not inherently opposed to incentives, but they need to be done intelligently. Unfortunately, a lot of things have passed Kingsport by, including the best retail shopping. Foregoing property taxes to save a dying mall that is, at best, going to be filled by off-brand and knick-knack type junk is stupid.
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