What do you think about this shift? Is it detrimental to the charm of the town? Is it necessary? Please tell me what you think by writing to me at Donnabeth@Chapelboro.com. And please feel free to share your views with other Chapelboro readers by leaving a comment below.
Filling the Border(s)
You know that 25,000+ square feet of empty retail space we used to call Borders? Well, we may soon be calling it something else!
Joe Mendola, property manager with Tri-City, Inc. tells this Savvy Spender that he’s in serious talks with three different tenants and there’s a possibility a fourth will enter the picture.
Not surprisingly, he is hoping to fill the spot ASAP but he says that making a good deal is important, determining “the best mix with (current tenant and neighboring store) Lowe’s” will help drive the deal.
Also not surprisingly, Mr. Mendola wouldn’t share the names of the possible tenants amid negotiations but he did tell me they are largely “regional or national” retail stores.
Hoping to live up to the savvy part of my title, I did try a bit of begging to get him to tell me the type of retail. Mr. Mendola has quite a sense of humor because he came back with an answer that sounded something like “the kind that sells things”. Ouch! No matter, I had to try to find out! He was kind enough to assure me he’d let me know as soon as he had a firm deal with a tenant.
One other tidbit is that the space won’t be subdivided because it’s “too expensive to subdivide a space that size.” Which leaves us knowing only that Chapel Hill will likely soon be welcoming a large regional or national retailer in a space larger than 25,000 square feet. Hmmm. As I understand it, that means we’re likely to be getting a “medium box” store. I’m told so-called big box retailers are typically at or above 50,000 square feet so double the size of our defunct Borders.
All this retail noise on Fordham, just up the street from the planned redesign of the Ephesus Church/Fordham traffic and commercial hub. And all of this on the other side of town from The Edge, a multi-use development with space planned for three big box stores?
If and when these changes come about, it means a drastic shift in where we will all likely to spend money. It will also likely mean less reliance on our property taxes for the services we need and have come to expect. It also means a drastically different landscape in some areas.