July 22, 2015

Existing Tenants, Brokers Expect Center’s Ancillary Benefits to Outweigh Problems

By Amelia Sewell
– Memphis Business Journal –

The completion of Ridgeway Trace Center, said to be in fall 2009, has brought an air of excitement for some of the retailers already well established in the surrounding area.

Ridgeway Trace is being built at Poplar and Interstate 240, in the path of Boyle Investment Co.’s Regalia at Ridgeway Center and Belz Enterprises, Inc.’s Park Place Center

These two retail centers are already successful shopping destinations. The 175,000-square-foot Park Place Center has 4,041 square feet of space available, according to Belz’s Web site, making the center about 98% leased. The 88,500-square-foot Regalia is about 95% leased leased.

Justin Lubin, Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC vice president, says while there are currently some vacant spaces at Regalia and Park Place, Ridgeway Trace will help by bringing in more merchants.

"I am under the belief that activity breeds activity," he says. "I think the new center will really enhance the area by helping the retail space and bringing a lot of traffic in."

Lubin says the leasing rate in the area is in the mid-$20 per square foot range and he could see it going much higher at the new center.

Rusty Bloodworth, Boyle executive vice president, says he is thrilled Ridgeway Trace is joining the East Memphis neighborhood.

"I think it will bring a lot of good uses to the area, like more restaurants in particular," he says. "It will be a good complement to what is already here."

Thanks to its location, Ridgeway Trace will reach an ‘upscale shopper,’ according to Bloodworth. The two surrounding ZIP codes, 38119 and 38120, have average household incomes of $95,581 and $122,315 respectively, according to Memphis Business Journal’s Book of Lists.

Jeremy Thacker, I.O. Metro manager, is also happy to see what the center will bring to his own store, located in Park Place Center.

"I think it just being built creates excitement and that alone will increase the traffic flow," he says. "People are going to want to come and see this area as it is starting to develop a lot more."

Target and Best Buy are scheduled to be the new center’s anchor tenants.

"The Best Buy would be very beneficial for us," Thacker says. "Since they sell a lot of television units and we sell furniture, it would be a great match."

According to Lubin, larger stores like Target will bring in more customers, which helps support other retailers.

"This area is a market within a market," he says. "Target will help bring in traffic that will help smaller stores."

The only fear Bloodworth and Thacker voiced is the added congestion the center will likely bring.

Thacker would like to see another exit added to the parking lot of Park Place Center. Despite his concerns, he is viewing the glass as half full.

"More traffic on Ridgeway is great because that will bring more shoppers in who will see our sign as they are sitting in traffic," he says.

Arden Korn, Little Lambs & Ivy owner, has been at 1227 Ridgeway, in the Park Place Center, for 10 years. She has seen the area develop and is ready to see what changes Ridgeway Trace will bring. Arden hopes the center will enable residents to shop near their homes. "Wolfchase Galleria took away so many of our main shoppers," Arden says. "So ideally, I hope this center brings shoppers right off the expressway."