Warehouse Row ramps up: Historic retail/office center is buzzing with new energy and new tenants

Warehouse Row ramps up: Historic retail/office center is buzzing with new energy and new tenants

September 21st, 2014 by Mike Pare in Business Diary

Warehouse Row

Photo by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

ROW RETAIL TENANTS

• Amanda Pinson Jewelry

• Anthropologie

• Brash Coffee

• Ellie's Fine Lingerie

• Embellish

• J. Crew

• Level 10

• Lines Orchid

• Onward Reserve

• Petunias Silver Jalapeno

• Pilates Chattanooga

• Public House

• Revival

• Kayce Hughes

• Shadowbox Paperie

• The Cosmetic Market

• Tupelo Honey Cafe

• Two Ten Jack

• Yoga Landing

• Yves Delorme

ABOUT JAMESTOWN

An investment and management company, Jamestown was established in 1983 and it has $7.3 billion of assets under management. It employs 230 people and has its headquarters in Atlanta and New York with added offices in Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco.

HISTORIC ROW

1989 Brick warehouses

used through most of the 1900s house 295,000-square- foot retail and office center in downtown Chattanooga

1993 Freight Depot building just

south of the Row on the 1200 block of Market Street purchased to expand retail complex. It's later sold off.

2006 Jamestown LP

purchases Warehouse Row in 2006 and has invested $30 million to buy and renovate the complex.

2014 Jamestown woos hip national retailers Anthropologie and J. Crew, to the downtown center.

Warehouse Row, which sat nearly half empty about eight years ago, is seeing renewed life as it benefits from retailers moving from shopping malls to Main Street.

"Chattanooga has such an important downtown and this historic building fabric," said Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown LP, which owns the central city retail and office center.

Construction is underway on Anthropologie, a chic retailer of women's clothing, accessories, gifts and home decor.

Construction is underway on Anthropologie, a chic retailer...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

With its retail space 90 percent leased, and its office footprint more than three-quarters full, the Row is marching back.

Atlanta-based Jamestown bought the center in 2006 and has invested about $30 million, including the $14 million sales price. The company has repositioned the eight nearly century-old structures off Market Street to appeal to a more upscale clientele. The result is a busier center that's filling up.

Kim White, who heads the downtown Chattanooga nonprofit redevelopment group River City Co., noted that Warehouse Row years ago was an outlet mall.

"Now outlet stores are going to the [suburban] mall and the nicer unique local and national retailers are coming back downtown," she said.

J. Crew and Anthropologie, the first major retailers to open non-outlet stores downtown in more than a half century, are leasing 4,800 square feet, above, and 11,000 square feet respectively in Warehouse Row.

J. Crew and Anthropologie, the first major retailers...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Phillips cited the recent additions of two hip national retailers, Anthropologie and J. Crew, which are to open before Christmas. The 11,000-square-foot Anthropologie store and the 4,800-square-foot J.Crew will both anchor the first floor of the North Building.

He said Warehouse Row is "pretty close to my heart."

"From the beginning, I felt its potential," he said.

Downtown boosters said attracting the two national retailers to downtown signals that Chattanooga's re-made central city has arrived on the radar of brands with a national reach. J. Crew and Anthropologie are among the first major retailers to open non-outlet stores in downtown Chattanooga in more than a half century.

Phillips termed wooing the pair of stores "a defining moment" for the Row and downtown's revitalization.

While gratified by attracting the national retailers, Phillips said the Row also is benefiting from a combination of micro brands, specialty businesses and local stores. He said that formula "makes for the most dynamic shopping."

Phillips said a shift by some retailers toward downtown areas can be seen in other Southeast cities, citing Nashville, Birmingham, Ala., and Charleston, S.C.

"I hope it continues," he said. "It's anyone's guess how deep and wide that is."

White said downtown offers a unique experience different from the suburban shopping mall.

"It's more a flavor of the city," she said. "That's why people are moving downtown."

Ron Harr, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's chief executive, said the Chamber shows off downtown to companies being recruited to Chattanooga.

"Having a vibrant retail shopping opportunity is important to quality of life here," he said.

Row history

Warehouse Row was created in 1989 by combining the former buildings served the railroad early last century. For a number of years it flourished as a outlet center run by Prime Outlets. But, the concept fell in to disfavor and it struggled, and then Jamestown purchased the string of buildings.

J.Crew

J.Crew

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

The company, which also has major offices in New York, essentially turned the retail portion of the center inside out by breaking out parts of walls and installing new store entrances from the exterior. In addition, the company upgraded the Row's office space.

Additionally, it had local artisans hand paint signs on the buildings to resemble lettering of a century ago. The company improved streetscaping, putting up awnings on the outside of the buildings to add a splash of color to upgrade the center's facade.

Jamestown officials said the personalized storefronts for individual retailers helped make the Row more pedestrian friendly and broke up the large, side-by-side brick structures, giving stores a more individualized boutique, brownstone look.

While keeping restaurants in the facility has proved a challenge, Jamestown added Public House and Tupelo Honey Cafe. They've helped increase traffic at the center and, another eatery, Two Ten Jack, plans to open in January.

The addition of new office tenants also has helped increase the daytime population to the facility, according to Jamestown. Logistics company Access America Transport, which was sold to Coyote Logistics earlier this year, became a large user of office space over the past five years. Infrastructure products maker Propex also moved its corporate offices to the center in 2012.

"It's nice to see the capital (investment) is helpful to restoring the old buildings," Phillips said.

He said Warehouse Row is contributing to Chattanooga as a regional draw.

Harr said the vibrancy of downtown is "part of the Chattanooga magic right now."

"All that adds up to [company executives saying] 'I'd like to have my company here,'" the Chamber CEO said.

The new Access America workplace on the fourth floor of Warehouse Row overlooks a newly renovated indoor courtyard.

The new Access America workplace on the fourth...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Phillips cited the early tenants in the center who joined in the vision of what the Row could become. The developer said he'd like to see downtown continue to add more housing to add more customers and traffic in the area.

"The more rooftops, the better," he said.

White said downtown is doing just that. Within walking distance of the Row are three new apartment projects underway or planned - at Market and Main streets, at the former Ross Hotel on Georgia Avenue and the 700 block of Market.

"A lot of things are in the funnel," she added. "It's all coming together at the perfect time. They see the handwriting on the wall."

White also termed Jamestown "a patient developer."

"They invested a lot in the property," she said. "Now it's paying off."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.


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