A Bona Fide Retail Opportunity for Non-store Merchants, Or Just Another Entrepreneurial Misfire?
But that’s the commercial real estate business for you. And nabbing the Christiana Mall lease was, no doubt, a tough thing to nail down. In fact, Epicenter first announced its founding two years ago when it all but had signed a lease for a department store space at the Polaris Fashion Palace, an upscale mall in Columbus, Ohio. But that lease never got signed as the deal fell through, and it took Lee and Gordon all this time to finally make their vision a reality.
Lee says that the Polaris operator opted for a department store at the 11th hour. He adds that the primary reason it took two years to finally find another space was because he and Gordon felt the key ingredient missing was a retail partner in the business, namely Federated.
As they attempt to lease out the Newark space, they’re eyeing other possible locations, such as a former Filene’s store space at the Danbury (Conn.) Mall that’s been vacant for more than a year. That’s because once Federated bought May Department Stores in August 2005, it began to close down all the formerly May-owned Filene’s stores or convert them to Macy’s. The Danbury Mall already houses a Macy’s. In fact, it’s hard to find a mall that doesn’t house a Macy’s anymore. (Although I understand that you can easily hear a pin drop at the Macy’s-ized former Marshall Field’s store on State Street in Chicago; “victimized” by an aggressive boycott by Chicago-area Field’s faithful — but that’s a whole other story.) Perhaps Epicenter will be able to show Federated — and consumers and catalogers alike — something new.