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Old 07-27-2017, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
6,727 posts, read 10,142,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I saw a Publix commercial last night. If they are truly pulling out of Bristol, it seems like further expansion plans would also be canceled.
I believe Publix' decision to pull out of that site was site-specific; so I would imagine other Bristol, as well as Tennessee expansion plans, are definitely still on the table.
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
6,727 posts, read 10,142,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I moved back here last summer and honestly have not been to the mall since. I am not certain I will go back, even with this theater. I cannot imagine fixing the escalators would have cost more than removing them.

The previous management made so many missteps and consumer behavior has changed. I hope the theater can reinvigorate the space in some way, but I don't see it being the mall we remember.
The mall as-is needs a reinvigoration like yesterday, and the NCG Cinemas feels fresh, feels energized, and seems to breathe life into the mall already. However, as you mentioned, the former management's mission appeared to be to drive the mall into the ground completely, as was Frank Theaters--they almost succeeded.

The name change back to Fort Henry Mall is logical and was the right rebranding. But for the mall to succeed across all demographics, especially in this Amazon and online shopping cut throat era, the mall needs to mix it up, and bring attractions to the mall that are destination stores. Think Barnes and Noble, Bass Pro, or Apple stores. Although these examples would never located in Kingsport due to Johnson City and Bristol already having locations (besides Apple), the mall should focus on that theme.

My thought would be a Publix in Sears, or cut Sears up into 2 or 3 sit down restaurants like Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, or something along those lines.

A Dave and Busters type game spot would be a no brainer, but specifically, Dave and Busters locates in larger metros....
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Old 07-31-2017, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
168 posts, read 223,425 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjbradleynyc View Post
I believe Publix' decision to pull out of that site was site-specific; so I would imagine other Bristol, as well as Tennessee expansion plans, are definitely still on the table.
Yes, it was site-specific. No guarantee that they won't find another site in Bristol. Rumors swirl of potential near or in the Pinnacle. Also, work has begun (or will begin soon) on the Johnson City store at the corner of State of Franklin and West Market.
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:46 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
20,542 posts, read 21,185,601 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjbradleynyc View Post
My thought would be a Publix in Sears, or cut Sears up into 2 or 3 sit down restaurants like Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, or something along those lines.
I am not aware of Publix opening stores in redeveloping enclosed malls. It could be doable.
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Old 08-28-2017, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
6,727 posts, read 10,142,084 times
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I reached out to Fort Henry Mall's owner, Hull Property Group, which is based in Augusta, Georgia. I was curious about the "current and future" state of the mall, and their plans. Much to my surprise, they got back to me within an hour by email. I had emailed the marketing and leasing divisions.

They said they are pursuing "large restaurant retailers to locate not only in but around the parcels of the mall." I listed several options that could work for the vacant Sears store, and they agreed that they were pursuing "tenants like these currently--stay tuned for the near future."

Some options I listed for the Sears store were:

Publix
Bed Bath and Beyond
Marshall's
regional furniture chain

Options for restaurants in and around the mall:
Outback Steakhouse
Red Robin
Red Lobster
Dunkin Donuts
Taco John's
Taco Mac
Krispy Kreme
Cinnabon
etc..

So, we will see. It sounds like things are in the cooker to attempt to jumpstart the mall. He did mention in the reply that they are "very optimistic about the brand new NCG Cinema, Dunham Sports coming in September, and Rue 21 opening up again.

Sounds promising, but we shall see over the next year...
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:34 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,286 posts, read 21,209,658 times
Reputation: 34696
It's good to see that the new owners are at least proactive and are trying to do something after years of neglect and mismanagement by the previous owners.

IMO, one thing that hurt the mall over the years was the lack of a food court. At its heyday, you had what, just the Chick-Fil-A and Charley's sandwich shop on the bottom floor? Italian Village is still there on the top level and Piccadilly/Baskin Robbins on the bottom. The location of these restaurants meant you could basically enter quickly and leave. My parents frequently eat at Piccadilly, go in that door, and leave, never shopping in the mall proper or venturing through the mall. I'm sure you have plenty of others doing the same. Piccadilly is okay for what it is, but that style of dining and its customer base has been on the decline for many years.

I was in the Johnson City mall Sunday afternoon about 1:30 and the food court was completely packed. There's nothing great in it, but it kind of provides a centerpiece and shoppers can take a break then continue.

The mall needs something fresh and modern. I'm personally not a fan of Outback (Chop House wipes the floor with it), but I could see a Red Lobster doing fairly well. Dunkin, Krispy Kreme, all that could conceivably do well, but those places really need a drive-thru.

I think they're going to have to do an unorthodox combo of some unusual retail for a mall site (Publix is good), something fun to make an evening of (the movie theater is this piece), a restaurant or two, and smaller retail tenants. I don't think it will survive if they simply try to ram traditional mall components back in there when consumer behavior has shifted to The Pinnacle and increasingly online.

The major problem is that retail in general is facing so many headwinds right now that even properly managed malls and retail chains are having problems. The mall was neglected for so long that many people don't even consider shopping there now. People under 25 or so likely don't even remember a healthy mall. It's going to take a lot of work, advertising dollars, and creative thinking to get it going again.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:09 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
20,542 posts, read 21,185,601 times
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Could Publix open a 45,600-square-foot store as a corner out-parcel?
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,286 posts, read 21,209,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina Knight View Post
Could Publix open a 45,600-square-foot store as a corner out-parcel?
That's what I'd like to see happen. They may be able to keep the outside of the Sears space (I have no idea how big it is), but it would certainly fit on that site as there is room to grow in the parking lot. They may have to demolish or significantly modify the Sears building, but where there's the will, there's a way.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:17 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
20,542 posts, read 21,185,601 times
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The former Sears has great square footage that could be reused for smaller tenants.

Publix locating as an out-parcel would give it a freestanding store with a pharmacy drive thru.
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Old 08-29-2017, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
6,727 posts, read 10,142,084 times
Reputation: 5535
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
It's good to see that the new owners are at least proactive and are trying to do something after years of neglect and mismanagement by the previous owners.

IMO, one thing that hurt the mall over the years was the lack of a food court. At its heyday, you had what, just the Chick-Fil-A and Charley's sandwich shop on the bottom floor? Italian Village is still there on the top level and Piccadilly/Baskin Robbins on the bottom. The location of these restaurants meant you could basically enter quickly and leave. My parents frequently eat at Piccadilly, go in that door, and leave, never shopping in the mall proper or venturing through the mall. I'm sure you have plenty of others doing the same. Piccadilly is okay for what it is, but that style of dining and its customer base has been on the decline for many years.

I was in the Johnson City mall Sunday afternoon about 1:30 and the food court was completely packed. There's nothing great in it, but it kind of provides a centerpiece and shoppers can take a break then continue.

The mall needs something fresh and modern. I'm personally not a fan of Outback (Chop House wipes the floor with it), but I could see a Red Lobster doing fairly well. Dunkin, Krispy Kreme, all that could conceivably do well, but those places really need a drive-thru.

I think they're going to have to do an unorthodox combo of some unusual retail for a mall site (Publix is good), something fun to make an evening of (the movie theater is this piece), a restaurant or two, and smaller retail tenants. I don't think it will survive if they simply try to ram traditional mall components back in there when consumer behavior has shifted to The Pinnacle and increasingly online.

The major problem is that retail in general is facing so many headwinds right now that even properly managed malls and retail chains are having problems. The mall was neglected for so long that many people don't even consider shopping there now. People under 25 or so likely don't even remember a healthy mall. It's going to take a lot of work, advertising dollars, and creative thinking to get it going again.
Yeah, they are definitely facing a challenging situation. However, a big optimistic sign is the investment of the theaters and the new sports chain as a major anchor. With their commitment to renovating the mall as well, it should push things into a direction where continued development could occur.

A food court would be key. That's another idea for the Sears space--gut it and convert to a food court, with sit down options as well as standard food court fare.

The keys, as you mentioned in this day and age, to attract crowds and consumers to any retail establishment, is to offer a strong reason to venture there. The theater is the first big piece--now they need several dining options and a big store--Publix, Bed Bath and Beyond, a bookstore? or something where people will be like "yeah, let's go do that tonight."

Bass Pro Shoppes or Cracker Barrel could also be prime locations for the mall (but that ship has probably sailed...). They should've lured in Dick's or Best Buy, or had some of the Pavilion's development locate at Fort Henry Mall, but as you mentioned, the management company before this one, seemed deadset on driving the mall into the ground and leaving it for dead--just absolutely a shame.

With the future development, they have to consider the millenials, Gen X and baby boomers to be a success...somehow find diverse blends to keep them coming back and making that mall trip.
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