published Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Retail still growing during economy

Audio clip

Elise Hasbrook

  • photo
    Staff File Photo Academy Sports + Outdoors is a new sporting goods store off of Highway 153 in Hixson.

About CBL

Headquartered in Chattanooga, CBL & Associates Properties Inc. has regional offices in Boston, Dallas and St. Louis.

CBL is one of the largest owners and developers of malls and shopping centers in the United States. It owns, holds interests in or manages 163 properties, including 88 regional malls and open-air centers.

The company's properties are located in 27 states and total 87.8 million square feet, including 3 million square feet of non-owned shopping centers managed for third parties.

CBL posted first-quarter funds from operations alloctable to common shareholders of $67.9 million, or 49 cents per share.

CBL recently opened The Pavilion at Port Orange, a 415,000-square-foot open-air development in Port Orange, Fla., at 92 percent leased and committed.

The company's website is cblproperties.com.

ABOUT WAREHOUSE ROW

Warehouse Row in downtown Chattanooga became a mixed-use development in the 1980s and a destination shopping center for the Southeast that was a part of revitalizing the central city.

The retail and office complex at 12th and Market streets was purchased by Atlanta-based Jamestown in 2006 with plans to invest $10 million in the property.

Leading the revitalization efforts is Jamestown Creative Director Michael Phillips with the aim to "galvanize the south end of downtown."

Jamestown owns multiple signature buildings across the United States, including One Times Square in New York and Chelsea Market, a Manhattan gourmet destination that features locally owned food shops and serves as the home of Food Network.

Jamestown's White Provision Building in Atlanta is part of the West Side Provisions District, a community-based environment infused with an urban industrial spirit.

Georgia developer Greg Blosser says he started putting together a deal to open a new Hixson shopping center more than two decades ago.

"We started putting the land together in the fall 1985," he said.

Today, his Fountains of North Chattanooga center is the latest retail hub to hit the area.

The first store in the Highway 153 site is Academy Sports + Outdoors, which opened this spring.

Elise Hasbrook, Katy, Texas-based Academy's senior communications manager, said the Hixson store is one of two the company is putting in the Chattanooga area.

The second store, near Hamilton Place mall, is set to open Thursday.

"We evaluate all our markets carefully," Ms. Hasbrook said. "We're excited to come to town."

Academy operates 112 stores in 11 states in the Southeast, selling sports apparel, footwear and equipment as well as hunting, fishing and camping goods.

"We have not stopped growing," Ms. Hasbrook said.

The 66,000-square-foot Hixson store employs about 100 people.

The rest of the shopping center site has been leveled and is awaiting other retailers. Mr. Blosser said Academy "gets the ball rolling."

Meanwhile, the Hamilton Place area has seen about a dozen new store openings in the past year.

Among the businesses are Tommy Hilfiger, Charming Charlies and MacAuthority in Hamilton Place mall.

DSW has opened at The Terrace while Hamilton Crossing has seen Kirkland's and Prado Bridal. Hamilton Corner new stores are Learning Express, Sam Edwards Jewelers and Complete Nutrition.

At Gunbarrel Pointe, Earth Fare and Southern Lighting have opened.

Katie Reinsmidt, CBL & Associates Properties Inc.'s vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, cited the activity and openings in the Hamilton Place area.

"We've benefited from the Volkswagen plant coming in" and retailers' expectation of growth in the city, Ms. Reinsmidt said.

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about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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