The Shoppes at EastChase is an approximately 700,000 square foot shopping center in Montgomery, AL. Crawford Square assumed responsibility of the asset in May of 2019. The multi-phase property had more than 100,000 square feet of vacant space -- many spaces had been without a tenant for several years. Our unique and creative leasing focus resulted in successful lease negotiations with three national junior anchor tenants and a grocer. Additionally, the team filled vacancies with several new-to-market retailers which reenergized the venue.
The Shoppes at Eastchase is a dominant shopping destination. However, the demographic profile of the 10-mile radius didn't tell the full story of the trade area. As a result, some potential retailers have traditionally passed on the opportunity to locate a store at EastChase. The Crawford Square team realized that the shopping center needed to be presented in a way that educated retailers about the unique nature of the market. The true trade area at EastChase, and other regional venues with similar profiles, have the ability to draw customers from a wider area.
Additionally, the existing tenant mix didn’t fully engage the entire trade area to visit the property on a frequent basis. As a result, sales for existing retailers became stagnant and new energy was needed to kickstart activity at the asset. As 13 major leases were set to expire in 2020, quick action needed to be taken.
Crawford Square understood the potential of the project given the local market knowledge and experience leasing similar assets. It was evident that a new leasing strategy was needed. A new narrative was crafted to resonate with tenants and the brokerage community – highlighting the drawing power of the location. The team initially focused on three of the largest vacancies: a former EarthFare (26,016 SF-vacant for 18 months), a former Cost Plus World Market (18,029 SF-vacant for 9 months), and a former Pier 1 Imports (10,910 SF-vacant for 9 months). These spaces were quickly backfilled with Aldi, Ashley Home Furniture, and Dollar Tree. Other major opportunities included a vacant 6,603 SF former restaurant space and a 8,805 SF former Gap in the heart of the shopping center Both had remained unoccupied for nearly two years. Crawford Square arranged a meeting with Sephora to make the case that the Montgomery market could support a store. Our team gathered in-depth information from Dillard’s to prove that the cosmetic market was underserved in the area. Crawford Square worked tirelessly, alongside Sephora, to get the store open. The addition of Sephora expanded the list of unique retailers at Eastchase and allowed the leasing team to expand the list of potential tenants that would consider the market for a new location.
Crawford Square also attracted Buffalo’s Cafe to the center to open their first location in the state of Alabama. The addition of Buffalo’s Café fulfilled the goal of bringing a casual restaurant that would be attractive to both young professionals and families. Trek Bicycles and Buff City Soap came soon after. These transactions generated excitement in the community and reminded consumers why they love to visit EastChase.
Placer A.I. reports that traffic increased 36% in 2021 compared to 2019. Finally, the team worked with select tenants to update co-tenancy clauses and engaged Chico's, LOFT, Versona, Lane Bryant, Rack Room Shoes, and DSW to complete complex renewals.