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Revitalizing Prescott Gateway Mall

Sumner Commercial Real Estate, Inc. has joined forces with Prescott Gateway Mall’s new owner, New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group (KRIG), to repurpose and revitalize the indoor/outdoor 377,875-square-foot shopping center.

Only five months into a relationship as leasing agent for the mall’s holdings, Sumner Commercial has signed new tenants and fielded numerous calls, emails and referrals for the center’s currently available 40 vacancies.
Promoting rates as low as $6/square foot triple net (rent plus insurance, taxes, and maintenance) for the smallest kiosks, the center’s leasing brochure highlights incentives such as periods of free rent; tenant improvement assistance; gross, triple net or percentage rent; and tenant participation in promotions and special events.

“We are undertaking a tremendous amount of marketing,” said Matthew Fish, MBA, associate broker for Sumner Commercial. “Our client base is huge. We’ve been in business so long that people are calling all day long when their leases elsewhere expire. I am here at the mall three to four days a week showing space.”

Fish explained that Sumner Commercial “got on board with [previous owner] Tabani Group right before the sale,” and that he had multiple tenants lined up with deposits in hand before the ownership transfer placed everything on hold. Based on a recommendation from Tabani, KRIG ultimately entered into its own contract designating Sumner Commercial the mall’s leasing agent.

“Every time I talk to him, he wants me to make sure that I let people know that he wants this to be a vibrant commercial center for the entire region,” Fish said of Mike Kohan, KRIG’s owner. “He’s committed to bringing in anyone who wants to lease space from him to help make this a vibrant, thriving center again. In all of my dealings with him, he always has been enthusiastic and very positive.”

That level of eagerness is shared by prospective tenants, Fish says. “So many people are excited about the new ownership and positive changes at the mall. We have leasing opportunities ranging from kiosks for the very small sole proprietor with a limited budget to the largest national tenant seeking 25,000 square feet. We have rental options for everybody and the owner is open to creative leasing terms.”

KRIG is “exploring new ways to bring the simple pleasures back to everyday life,” according to its website. “Malls are evolving, and as time goes on, they are no longer just a tent to house box stores and chains, but are home to more local small- and medium-sized businesses of all stripes. Large spaces offer opportunities for fundraising events, festivals, farmers markets, miniature golf, dancing, concerts, banquets, theater and virtually any social gathering all under one roof with protection from the elements.”

From restaurants to office space to retail venues to medical facilities to business incubators, almost any business type can be accommodated, according to Fish, whose tenant prospects have included training companies, businesses looking for private offices, a cosmetology school and an entity evaluating venues for a technology center.

The two newest tenants – Micro AZ LLC and Starting Point Church of Prescott – signed leases for exterior spaces March 19. Micro AZ will be moving into Suite 548, located between Mattress Firm and Hi-Health. The 1,341-square-foot space will house its computer sales, service and design company. Starting Point Church of Prescott will offer religious services, a coffee bar and other activities in the 4,076-square-foot Suite 400, former site of Celtic Crossings Pub.

“Both of these firms looked at space all over town” prior to choosing the mall, Fish said.

Owner/Manager Tony Tran of Micro AZ stated that the company will be offering a large selection of computer products and services for PC and MAC users in homes and businesses. Tran plans to open May 1, and his service will include repair, upgrading, networking, custom configuration and accessories.

“The Prescott Gateway Mall is a prime, centralized and convenient location for us to provide our service to Prescott, Prescott Valley and the surrounding communities,” Tran stated. “Also, it may not have been possible without the help of Mathew Fish from Sumner CRE. His informative nature and hardworking effort was also an important factor in this decision.”

The Starting Point Church of Prescott formed about 10 months ago and now includes about 75 people, according to JT Schulze, the church’s “lead follower.” The non-denominational congregation is affiliated with The National Vineyard USA.

“We love the Prescott Gateway Mall area because it’s centrally located and easy to get to,” Schulze explained. “We’re looking forward to making this space our own. We’ll take a couple of months to remodel and give it our touch. Our location has a beautiful outdoor seating area that will be open to the public to come, relax and grab some coffee and free WiFi while there. We will get the keys to our building on May 15, and our lease is for three years, but who knows…we might be there longer.”

Separately and under a previous agreement now honored by KRIG, the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew (GMIHC) Learning and Tribute Center has been establishing a facility in the former Footlocker space in the mall’s interior. The Learning and Tribute Center commemorates the19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, who gave their lives fighting the 2013 Yarnell fire.

The lease was arranged directly through Tabani with the non-profit GMIHC’s board, consisting of family members of the fallen, affiliates of the fire and law enforcement communities, and community members at-large, according to Dennis B. Light, fire chief for the City of Prescott.

 

“This entire effort stemmed from the announced sale of the former GMIHC quarters on 6th Street and community interest,” Light explained. “The terms allow for up to five years at this location, with a desire at some point to expand the footprint. As much as practical we were seeking, albeit somewhat cliché, creating something that was win/win. The mall was seeking to attract more foot traffic, and given the community and other interests towards displaying many of the artifacts and memorabilia in the aftermath of June 30, 2013, we felt this was a solid option.”

Light stated he is optimistic that the Learning and Tribute Center will be open to the public in early June. To date, all the artifacts have been moved to the newly acquired leased space, he continued, but many still need to be unpacked and some tenant improvements will be undertaken.

For its part in the mall revamp, the City of Prescott “has pledged ongoing assistance in retail leasing, and seeking alternative uses for some of the mall space,” explained John Heiney, the city’s community outreach manager. “The city has offered to assist as a facilitator, bringing potential tenants to mall ownership, even if they are not traditional retail. We have discussed other ideas including encouraging family-friendly events and attractions at the mall. The mall site could also be of interest for an innovation center or business incubator.”

Fish credits the city’s Economic Development Coordinator Wendy Quarles Bridges with funneling leads and ensuring that prospects are aware that mall space is among the area options available for commercial lease and special events.

“The City of Prescott has been a great asset for us,” Fish said.

Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli has been in touch with Kohan, whom he said via a media release has expressed pleasure at the good condition of the mall. Kohan indicated that he is open to both retail and non-retail uses, such as medical, as well as bringing special events to help spur foot traffic, Mengarelli noted.

“I am excited about this new chapter for the Gateway Mall,” the mayor stated. “We look forward to working with Mr. Kohan and his company to revitalize this important property.”

Prescott Chamber of Commerce CEO Sheri Heiney also has been in touch with Kohan and reports that he is “very excited to be in the Prescott area. The mall has always been a Chamber member and will continue. We have mentioned to [Kohan] that we are here to help any way we can. From recruitment to marketing, this is a regional draw.”

Sharing that she has witnessed successful mall turnarounds in Michigan, from where she relocated to Prescott about a year ago, Heiney expressed confidence that Prescott Gateway Mall has the same opportunity: “The timing is right to turn this mall around.” QCBN

 

By Sue Marceau, QCBN

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