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David1502

Dillard's Leaving Huntsville?

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There is presently a rumor (going around the mall) that Dillard's is definitely planning to close their Parkway Place store and they are debating closing their Madison Square store. Dillard's has already closed a number of their stores in other states. This would appear to give an ideal opportunity for Macy's to "walk right in" this market with a ready built building and Belk's as the only competitor. Macy's is a lot better at moving product than Dillard's as they (Macy's) have significant markdowns in November, whereas I have seen Dillard's carry full priced merchandise on Christmas Eve which they will have to practically give away after Christmas (which I have also seen in February). If they had marked down prices some before Christmas, consumers would have bought them as gifts, however, in January they have to be "super deals" (giveaways) for their own personal use. Hence, the lack of profits in Dillard's bottom line and as a result, store closings.

Another interesting note is that Parkway Place has also suffered from the opening of Bridge Street - as both Banana Republic and The Gap have closed their PP locations and moved them to Bridge Street. If Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn move, Parkway Place will really be hurting. It is hard to believe that at one time, Dillard's had a separate Men's Department at Madison Square (where Steve and Barry's is now) and back in the 1980's (when the mall opened) that spot held the high end Blach's from Birmingham. How things have changed.

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Parkway Place isn't going anywhere. And I really don't think the Dillard's there is either, unless their financial situation is worse off than they say it is, or they get bought out by, say, Belk (more possible). Besides, you forgot to mention that in the Gap's place, Forever 21 just opened. Not sure if anything has replaced Banana Republic yet-- I try to avoid malls if at all possible, with the exception of yesterday, when I went to Madison Square. Now, THAT mall, IMO, is seeing its last days, not b/c of Bridge Street, but b/c of this recession... Steve and Barry's, KB Toys, Friedman's Jewelers are all liquidating right now. The food court there is terrible, and half of the stores that are left look like they haven't changed since 1984. If CBL wants Madison Square to stay alive, Macy's should move into the old Belk space (which probably should be torn down and rebuilt for this, it's only ~90,000 sq ft) and some more mid-priced restaurants (for those priced out of Bridge Street) wouldn't hurt. That should at least buy them some time before they tear down the whole place and replace it with a high-rise cluster of retail, office and residential condos, a la Lenox Square/Buckhead in Atlanta. Ok, that might be a little too far-fetched for static, low-rise Huntsville, but the point is, something BIG is needed to save Madison Square.

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Parkway Place isn't going anywhere. And I really don't think the Dillard's there is either, unless their financial situation is worse off than they say it is, or they get bought out by, say, Belk (more possible). Besides, you forgot to mention that in the Gap's place, Forever 21 just opened. Not sure if anything has replaced Banana Republic yet-- I try to avoid malls if at all possible, with the exception of yesterday, when I went to Madison Square. Now, THAT mall, IMO, is seeing its last days, not b/c of Bridge Street, but b/c of this recession... Steve and Barry's, KB Toys, Friedman's Jewelers are all liquidating right now. The food court there is terrible, and half of the stores that are left look like they haven't changed since 1984. If CBL wants Madison Square to stay alive, Macy's should move into the old Belk space (which probably should be torn down and rebuilt for this, it's only ~90,000 sq ft) and some more mid-priced restaurants (for those priced out of Bridge Street) wouldn't hurt. That should at least buy them some time before they tear down the whole place and replace it with a high-rise cluster of retail, office and residential condos, a la Lenox Square/Buckhead in Atlanta. Ok, that might be a little too far-fetched for static, low-rise Huntsville, but the point is, something BIG is needed to save Madison Square.

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I do not know how anyone can have confidence in CBL. They are a disgrace. The only thing keeping Parkway Place intact is probably Colonial's involvement. Madison Square is a D mall.

I understand the economy. I understand Huntsville's demographic hurdles (in terms of population) needed to draw key retailers. I understand ebbs and flows. I understand competition.

I do NOT understand CBL. Look at their properties, and then go look at Simon or Taubman or General Growth. Granted, GG is in dire straits, but their properties (which are A and B) malls will get picked up. I understand CBL operates in smaller markets, for the most part, so their portfolio is not going to be as impressive. But, look at quality overall. How could they THINK new signage (which is uglier and cheaper than the original) and putting a Buffalo Wild Wings out in front and some new "soft seating" areas were going to fix anything? Where is the investment? Where is the care? Huntsville's demographics, while small, still support having decent, reputable, national retailers. Parkway Place has a knife shop, wig store, camo shop, tacky import store, rug store....DOWNSTAIRS (where the supposedly higher-end stores are supposed to be). They are TRYING to run it into the ground too, I guess. Once again, I get all the other factors. It would almost be best if drywalled all those INAPPOPRIATE infills along with other percentage of the mall that was NEVER built out/occupied since its reincarnation. I guess they need the rent to stay afloat, but...come on. I can't believe that Simon or General Growth or Taubman or any other REPUTABLE management company (Colonial working on its own even) would have a problem filling those spaces with Aldo, Coach, California Pizza Kitchen, Martin+Osa, H&M, Aerie, Gus Mayer, Z Gallerie, Cole Haan, Brooks Brothers, Urban Outfitters, Chipotle, Sephora..and any other higher-end REASONABLE, QUALITY, NATIONAL, APPROPRIATE for what Huntsville can handle/deserves retail stores and restaurants.

Not ALL stores close in all cases. (Something like Steve & Barry's is unavoidable) But, the chains having problems close the stores in the underperforming centers. Not ALL stores head for the newer competition. The ones in underperforming centers do. Parkway Place is hurting badly, folks. Madison Square IS dead and an EMBARASSMENT. That is a blighted property in a blighted area. CBL SHOULD take advantage of the huge hurdles facing Madison Sq and that section of University. They own that dismal strip center with HH Gregg. Across the street are two centers which could not be too difficult to take ownership of given most of their tenants are liquidating or moved to greener pastures. Why not INVEST in their property...and, you know, INVEST in Huntsville and tear down Madison Sq and make that a much smaller mall with more green space as everyone is talking about and make the adjoining strip centers very small lifestyle centers...ala in line with what borders The Galleria in Birmingham -- Patton Creek Village, etc. Let Dillards go. Let Penney's open in one of the adjoining lifestyle centers or head off to its proposed spot at Harris Mill (if that becomes reality)...and have a SUSTAINABLE, healthy mall. They still advertise on their website, something to the effect of: Huntsville's premier shopping destination, North Alabama's largest retail experience with 140 of your favorite stores and eateries.

REEEEEEEEALLLY?

It's an EMBARASSMENT. It's hideous. It's underserving. It's a waste of real estate.

I understand NOW is not the time to make huge investments given noone is going to loan anyone money; but I think CBL owes us at least a plan. But, let's take a look at one of its key "flagship properties" -- Cool Springs in Franklin. Nashville is a major market. Look at the lineup and future of Cool Springs, EVEN considering a lifestyle portion is claimed to be added in the next few years, and compare that mall to other "Galleria's" -- regional destinations in larger markets. It's lame. It's mundane. Let's look at the three or four or five or however many other malls in the Nashville-area that CBL owns -- DEAD, mundane, no care, no investment.

I have ZERO confidence in CBL and do not know how anyone could have the slightest trace of respect or confidence in their operations. They are underserving, underperforming malls. They do not make sufficient investments. They do not have the power of the other mall owners.

They get ZERO respect from me and ZERO confidence...and I have ZERO tolerance for anyone offering excuses for CBL or considering this to be a future problem. These are huge, huge problems NOW and there is no excuse. All malls are going to be hurt given the state of the US. There is no reason for malls to be in this state. CBL is a disgrace to nearly every market they are a part of. I'd really be mad if I were Nashville. There are so many stores THEY really deserve. There is REALLY a shopping experience lacking and CBL dominates the playing field. Davis Street and The Mall at Green Hills and Cousins Properties and their "Avenues" are their only shining beacons of hope. I'd be praying everyday that Simon or one of the others could step in and take control. My point is if CBL doesn't pull out all the punches for a bigger, rising, tourist-drawing, key SE central city such as Nashville, what are Huntsville's hopes for anything quality and sustainable and appropriate?

None.

CBL SUCKS.

If CBL cared, Madison Sq would be reborn MUCH smaller and it would be filled with reputable stores. If CBL really cared, Parkway Place would not have EXTREMELY inappropriate infill stores. the BEST Huntsville can do is an INLINE wig store? Camo shop? We have exhausted our gammet of retail and restaurant options? We have everything and there is nothing left?

CBL deserves to be run out of town.

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