It sounds like there will be some new shopping coming in West Palm Beach in the future….
In an article in the Palm Beach Post Staff writer Alexandra Clough notes on Tuesday January 17th:
” WEST PALM BEACH — A developer who bought the Palm Beach Mall last year has decided to tear down the mostly shuttered center on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and build a new structure for the proposed luxury retail outlet destination.
“We’re going to do a major demolition and remove the existing mall,” said Stephen Karp, the billionaire mall magnate and chairman of New England Development, a Massachusetts-based real estate firm. New England partnered with Eastern Real Estate and Lubert-Adler to buy the 80-acre mall in October for $35.5 million.
The decision transforms the Palm Beach Mall’s purchase from a bargain-basement deal into a major redevelopment, the largest retail project in the area.
Plans are to throw open the doors to the Palm Beach Fashion Outlets by 2013.
Between the cost of planning and site prep work, plus the actual construction, the mall’s price tag is likely to be “well over $100 million,” said Rob Jacoby of Menin Development in Palm Beach.
Menin Development, which built Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, was one of several developers vying to buy the mall from ORIX Capital Markets, which took control after Simon Property Group let the mall go into foreclosure in 2009.
Karp declined to say how much it would cost to build the Palm Beach Fashion Outlets, and he said he wasn’t ready to discuss details of the plans, either. Previously, his company has said the outlet center would be 1 million square feet.
Karp said formal plans would likely be filed with the city of West Palm Beach within the next 90 days. Talks have already been ongoing with city staff.
Karp acknowledged that the decision to bulldoze the old mall reflects a major commitment to the project and a belief the result will prove profitable.
“We feel very comfortable with the plan,” Karp said. “Everything is going really well. It’s still very much a go. We’re probably talking to over 100 tenants right now, and some of them are in different stages of negotiations, some of them with lease requests.”
As part of the redo, Karp said there are plans to keep JCPenney around: “We’ll probably build a new Penney’s store so they can stay in business.” JC Penney and George’s Music remain open, with the rest of the property a ghost town.
Marketing materials shown at trade shows have listed a number of proposed premium outlets, including Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store and Neiman Marcus’ last call. Other outlets listed are Nike, Gap, Old Navy and Ralph Lauren. Big-box stores such as TJ Maxx, Bed Bath & Beyond and the Burlington Coat Factory also have been listed. BJ’s Wholesale Club also is said to be interested.
Karp said it’s too soon to talk specific stores because leases have not yet been signed.
Karp did confirm that a grocery store is being considered, and he said he’s fielding interest from several grocery store companies. He said the store would be placed on out-parcel, separate from the fashion outlet complex.
The idea of spending millions of dollars on a new shopping mall, as the economy struggles to recover from recession, may sound like an ambitious proposition, but Menin’s Jacoby said the site’s location along Interstate 95, plus the allure of the outlet stores, makes the deal likely to succeed.
“Steve knows what he’s doing,” Jacoby said.”