GVSUChris

Woodland Mall to get $100 Million makeover

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The closeup of the Von Maur wing. I believe the current mall ends at the hallway at the top? Where the proposed Adidas is? 

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15 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

The closeup of the Von Maur wing. I believe the current mall ends at the hallway at the top? Where the proposed Adidas is? 

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Most of places I could take or leave but seriously is Shinola were to come to Grand Rapids and go into a mall...bleh. 

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It's been about a month ago that I was last at Woodland but this was the space next to Apple. No one would tell me was up but not it appears that it is a new Apple Store based on those plans. Maybe the already have signage on the wall by now...haven't been there in a while. 

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4 hours ago, mgreven said:

It's been about a month ago that I was last at Woodland but this was the space next to Apple. No one would tell me was up but not it appears that it is a new Apple Store based on those plans. Maybe the already have signage on the wall by now...haven't been there in a while. 

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It is the new Apple Store. Two stories from what I'm told. 

Joe

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9 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

It is the new Apple Store. Two stories from what I'm told. 

Joe

Seriously? That's really upping their game. Like the one on Michigan Ave in Chicago?

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3 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Seriously? That's really upping their game. Like the one on Michigan Ave in Chicago?

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I hope so. It won't be THAT big but I've heard they will have a 2nd story for training. I'm hoping it gets the "glass" stairway treatment that other Apple Stores get. 

I heard that PREIT owns a high end mall in NJ and basically, if you want in that mall, you need to put a store in Woodland too (nice that they have leverage). So they are pushing out some of the marginal stores and going for the high end. I think eventually, the difference between Woodland and Rivertown (in upscale retailers) will be easily noticed. 

Joe

 

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A few things I've noticed about the Woodland plan:

  • Current tenants disappearing include Payless ShoeSource (which has another location at 28th & Radcliff), The Gap (which closed at RiverTown a year ago), Brookstone, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Made in Michigan, Campus Den, Sleeping Tiger Imports, and the sports memorabilia place and the toy shop by Sears. And a couple other mom-and-pop places I don't pay any attention. :P
  • Due to Sears' massive size, Woodland would actually lose square footage. Sears is 313,000, and all the proposed "expansions" add up to 220,000.
  • Is it weird to propose both Dick's and REI? Are they trying to get the Dick's in Cascade next to Target to move here? It seems like that store still has a ton of life left, but I guess it worked on Barnes & Noble.

This is pretty exciting to see Woodland try to differentiate itself from everything else in West Michigan rather than trying to become a second RiverTown, as well as preemptively making a plan for Sears' inevitable demise. I have a soft spot for this mall and have dreamed up similar expansions, but I'd figured PREIT would just sit and twiddle its thumbs as long as occupancy stayed above 95%. It's nice to be wrong!

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I had thought a Whole Foods would have been a good fit to be an anchor instead of Woodland. My wife would love a Cheesecake Factory.

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It will be interesting to see if General Growth Properties does anything to counter this move by Woodland. If they don't, they run the risk of becoming the poor man's mall for Grand Rapids and driving down the value Grandville property. This is the risk of a city taking on a large retail center. It can either be kept up and remain a destination for those with money, or it can go down hill and become a destination for those that couldn't care less about it. I said in a previous post that I think they have really let the place go as of late. I hope that this move with Woodland will force them to step up their game.

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1 hour ago, GRLaker said:

It will be interesting to see if General Growth Properties does anything to counter this move by Woodland. If they don't, they run the risk of becoming the poor man's mall for Grand Rapids and driving down the value Grandville property. This is the risk of a city taking on a large retail center. It can either be kept up and remain a destination for those with money, or it can go down hill and become a destination for those that couldn't care less about it. I said in a previous post that I think they have really let the place go as of late. I hope that this move with Woodland will force them to step up their game.

They've always let the place go.  With the car-sized icicles from leaking water under the theater, the neglect of lightbulbs, the gigantic mass of duct tape that replaced an entire section of railing for over a year, slow to replace broken floor tiles.. and these were all things I noticed almost a decade ago.  I don't really go there anymore, so who knows how bad it's gotten now.

Back then they had a policy of kicking anyone out who took pictures inside the mall.  Not sure how that's changed since the prevalence of smartphones.  I don't recall if I was able to get a picture of the duct tape or not.. it was shocking, to say the least.  I know I did get a picture of the frozen leaks.  But wherever that picture is, is another story..

Edit: Found it.  Looks like I didn't get a photo of the one which necessitated closing off entire parking spaces, but just some small ones, probably earlier or later in the season.

IMG00112.JPG

Edited by tSlater

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20 minutes ago, tSlater said:

They've always let the place go.  With the car-sized icicles from leaking water under the theater, the neglect of lightbulbs, the gigantic mass of duct tape that replaced an entire section of railing for over a year, slow to replace broken floor tiles.. and these were all things I noticed almost a decade ago.  I don't really go there anymore, so who knows how bad it's gotten now.

Back then they had a policy of kicking anyone out who took pictures inside the mall.  Not sure how that's changed since the prevalence of smartphones.  I don't recall if I was able to get a picture of the duct tape or not.. it was shocking, to say the least.  I know I did get a picture of the frozen leaks.  But wherever that picture is, is another story..

That is very true. Add to all of that...shutting off half of the parking ramp for years to VERY slowly fix structural issues, stains and damage in store carpet, stores coming in and being very short lived or having to downgrade in size and quality.

Until recently though, they were still the best option in town, as Woodland was on a downward trend in store quality and gang activity. That has recently changed (store quality at least, as gang activity has diminished but not disappeared) and will only continue to tilt in Woodland's favor with this addition. GGP can no longer rest on being better for the sole reason of being bigger and being located in a nicer town. It now has to actually put in the work and money to even stay on a somewhat level playing field. At this rate, it will go from being the average joe's mall to being the poor man's mall, as the middle and upper class flock to the much improved Woodland.

Edited by GRLaker

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Does anyone here have the ear of anyone at General Growth? ;)

24 minutes ago, tSlater said:

Edit: Found it.  Looks like I didn't get a photo of the one which necessitated closing off entire parking spaces, but just some small ones, probably earlier or later in the season.

IMG00112.JPG

:blink: I never looked up to see that the bottom of the theater is nothing more than basement ceiling tiles. Unbelievable. 

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33 minutes ago, tSlater said:

 

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Despite the leaks, one way Rivertown has Woodland beat is the covered parking.  In this bad weather season I’ll do my daily walking there during snowstorms and very cold temperatures, although ten laps around a mall gets pretty boring.  I leave my outer clothes in the car so as not to sweat too much inside, so the covered parking comes in handy.  I rarely give them or any mall much business though.

One of my investments is a REIT (real estate investment trust) index mutual fund that includes both of these malls, so I own a very small part of both of them, hopefully the parts that are leased and aren't leaking.  I figure if security mistakes me for a homeless person wandering the mall aimlessly to stay out of the cold, I’ll just have to play my owner card.  (Unless someone wants me to fix the leaks, then I’ll say I’m homeless and I’ll ask them if they can lend me bus fare.) 

I know, investing in suburban shopping malls is very un-urbanplanet, but in these times you’ve got to hedge your bets.  
 

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23 hours ago, getemngo said:

A few things I've noticed about the Woodland plan:

  • Current tenants disappearing include Payless ShoeSource (which has another location at 28th & Radcliff), The Gap (which closed at RiverTown a year ago), Brookstone, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Made in Michigan, Campus Den, Sleeping Tiger Imports, and the sports memorabilia place and the toy shop by Sears. And a couple other mom-and-pop places I don't pay any attention. :P
  • Due to Sears' massive size, Woodland would actually lose square footage. Sears is 313,000, and all the proposed "expansions" add up to 220,000.
  • Is it weird to propose both Dick's and REI? Are they trying to get the Dick's in Cascade next to Target to move here? It seems like that store still has a ton of life left, but I guess it worked on Barnes & Noble.

This is pretty exciting to see Woodland try to differentiate itself from everything else in West Michigan rather than trying to become a second RiverTown, as well as preemptively making a plan for Sears' inevitable demise. I have a soft spot for this mall and have dreamed up similar expansions, but I'd figured PREIT would just sit and twiddle its thumbs as long as occupancy stayed above 95%. It's nice to be wrong!

Ha, nobody's judging. This isn't the Salon. ;)

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I wonder how much of the motivation driving Woodland to be more upscale (in addition to the good points in previous posts) is the arrival of Tanger Outlets in the area?

 

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Disagree, woodland separating itself from riverton, I think will only help the situation. GR metro is more than big enough to have two regional malls and an outdoor outlet center. I hope riverton goes for a remodel of their own as they are due for one almost 20 years later. It will be nice to have different options now. I thought it was odd and dissappointing when riverton came here and carried all the same anchors as woodland plus Yonkers then woodland adds the same theater brand as rivertown....very little verity between the two

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21 minutes ago, WMrapids said:

If anything needs a makeover, it'd be Roger's Plaza and that carpet :unsure:

Isn't Rogers Plaza going to be eliminated with the whole Main Street setup Wyoming is building?

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4 hours ago, GR8scott said:

Disagree, woodland separating itself from riverton, I think will only help the situation. GR metro is more than big enough to have two regional malls and an outdoor outlet center. I hope riverton goes for a remodel of their own as they are due for one almost 20 years later. It will be nice to have different options now. I thought it was odd and dissappointing when riverton came here and carried all the same anchors as woodland plus Yonkers then woodland adds the same theater brand as rivertown....very little verity between the two

My hope is that GGP takes a hint from this move by Woodland and starts to up their game for Rivertown. Unfortunately, I have been told that GGP has seen better days financially, so I'm not sure what the likelihood of that ever happening would be.

Edited by GRLaker

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All the Sears speculation is interesting, but there's a possible little caveat... Remember way back when Kmart went bankrupt and Sears bought them?  As I recall, the best asset Sears had was real estate it owned and long term leases it had on real estate that were way below market.  It is not uncommon in commercial leasing for major pieces of real estate to do leases that extend for decades with decades worth of options on top of that.  Bankruptcy, as I recall, allowed Kmart to extact a lot of value from those leases they otherwise would not have been able to. So even if Sears goes in the dumpster and files a Chapter 11, there's still a big question mark about what that would do.  How much leverage any mall owner has is a pretty big question mark at this point.  Even if Sears goes bust, it doesn't mean they will turn over the keys...

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10 hours ago, GRLaker said:

My hope is that GGP takes a hint from this move by Woodland and starts to up their game for Rivertown. Unfortunately, I have been told that GGP has seen better days financially, so I'm not sure what the likelihood of that ever happening would be.

GGP has had financial struggles that predate Rivertown.  The bulk of their properties were enclosed centers that were over built during the 70's and 80's.  They filed Chapter 11 in 09 (emerged about 18 months later).  GGP kept Rivertown in it's portfolio because it's a cash cow.  It likely still is.  All of this talk of Rivertown turning into the next Rogers Plaza is a bit of cringe worthy hyperbole.  You can poke around any property find the imperfections and then declare tantamount to a slum.  

I think a lot of people in this thread are missing the point that Rivertown was never going to be the mall that carried the upscale shopping long term.  No matter how shiny and nice it was in 1999 when it opened,  the rich people still live by Woodland.  The upscale brands are going to want to be closer to the rich people.  Woodlands owners have been progressive, (and aggressive) at not allowing Woodland to turn into an obsolete property.  It all makes sense.  However the health of Rivertown shouldn't be in question to anyone who understands how retail centers work. Especially when you consider we are in a retail area of over 1.5 million people.  GGP is on more firm financial footing than it was 7 years ago.  I'll see if I can find some info on what they've done recently with their other properties in terms of upgrades.  

7 hours ago, x99 said:

All the Sears speculation is interesting, but there's a possible little caveat... Remember way back when Kmart went bankrupt and Sears bought them?  As I recall, the best asset Sears had was real estate it owned and long term leases it had on real estate that were way below market.  It is not uncommon in commercial leasing for major pieces of real estate to do leases that extend for decades with decades worth of options on top of that.  Bankruptcy, as I recall, allowed Kmart to extact a lot of value from those leases they otherwise would not have been able to. So even if Sears goes in the dumpster and files a Chapter 11, there's still a big question mark about what that would do.  How much leverage any mall owner has is a pretty big question mark at this point.  Even if Sears goes bust, it doesn't mean they will turn over the keys...

Woodland and it's anchors are turning 50 in about 18 months.  Contrary to your impression, Sears was purchased by Kmart in 2004.  Ed Lampert and company have never been able to stop the decline of those brands no matter what they have tried.  I would be surprised if Sears lease terms were longer than 50.  I would also be surprised if PREIT were going public with plans without working out those details.  330,000sf is larger than any other Michigan department store outside of metro Detroit. Since Macy's closed the location at Northland mall it very well could be the largest department store in Michigan.  With their current downsizing model it's likely in their best financial interest to get out of that albatross.  I'm not sure why it would be in their interest to shudder a location and then not allow redevelopment.   The Rivertown location is too far way, they are closing the Kmart on Plainfield.  Nothing that would go in there would overlap their sales, let alone compete in the market tier they exist in.  

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On 12/26/2016 at 8:27 AM, GRDadof3 said:

Seriously? That's really upping their game. Like the one on Michigan Ave in Chicago?

dsc08546.JPG

I hope so. It won't be THAT big but I've heard they will have a 2nd story for training. I'm hoping it gets the "glass" stairway treatment that other Apple Stores get. 

I heard that PREIT owns a high end mall in NJ and basically, if you want in that mall, you need to put a store in Woodland too (nice that they have leverage). So they are pushing out some of the marginal stores and going for the high end. I think eventually, the difference between Woodland and Rivertown (in upscale retailers) will be easily noticed. 

Joe

 

like MJLO said, there is definitely enough room for two malls in GR (if not more). I think malls need to keep reinventing themselves, but I doubt either mall is in trouble. And while Woodland has the demographics for upscale, the overall growth of The south end can't be understated. Seems like plenty to go around. 

Joe

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7 hours ago, MJLO said:

GGP has had financial struggles that predate Rivertown.  The bulk of their properties were enclosed centers that were over built during the 70's and 80's.  They filed Chapter 11 in 09 (emerged about 18 months later).  GGP kept Rivertown in it's portfolio because it's a cash cow.  It likely still is.  All of this talk of Rivertown turning into the next Rogers Plaza is a bit of cringe worthy hyperbole.  You can poke around any property find the imperfections and then declare tantamount to a slum.  

I think a lot of people in this thread are missing the point that Rivertown was never going to be the mall that carried the upscale shopping long term.  No matter how shiny and nice it was in 1999 when it opened,  the rich people still live by Woodland.  The upscale brands are going to want to be closer to the rich people.  Woodlands owners have been progressive, (and aggressive) at not allowing Woodland to turn into an obsolete property.  It all makes sense.  However the health of Rivertown shouldn't be in question to anyone who understands how retail centers work. Especially when you consider we are in a retail area of over 1.5 million people.  GGP is on more firm financial footing than it was 7 years ago.  I'll see if I can find some info on what they've done recently with their other properties in terms of upgrades.  

 

That is good to know that they are doing better financially than they were. I was just told about this over the weekend and it was based on the somewhat recent past, so I'm not surprised that it was outdated information. I do maintain that they have done a poor job of keeping the place up, though. Rivertown may never be the mall of the wealthy for the area, but it is located in a nice community and the Chicago Drive Dutch are far from poor...They just aren't quick to part with their money ;) Really, all Rivertown needs is a superficial makeover. Replace the bulbs, get rid of the mold and stains on the building exterior, fix the leaks, replace damaged/stained flooring, etc. Heck...Maybe even change up the overall style of the middle portion to make it a little less campy. A fresh paint job can go a long way.

And that would be great to see what GGP has done recently. 

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