New Center to Capitalize on Strong Retail Demand

Published on: July 21, 2016

Madeline Faber, Memphis Daily News

The shopping center at 6450 Poplar Ave. is fully constructed with tenants opening as soon as next month.

The 29,000-square-foot shopping center, developed by Fogelman Investment Co., will bring dense retail and restaurants to a trade area starved for new properties.

“There’s just no land,” said Danny Buring with the Shopping Center Group, who handles leasing for the center at the corner of International Drive.

Named tenants include a second location for Overton Square favorite Babalu; PizzaRev, a new pizza chain in the Memphis area; optometrist Eye Society; and Pimento’s, a rebrand of local restaurant chain Holiday Deli & Ham.

A ground-up shopping center is an anomaly in the tight East Poplar corridor, according to Buring, who said it’s been at least 10 years since the area saw a project of this size.

To make room for the shopping center, Fogelman razed the former Cozymel’s restaurant in 2013. Previous plans for the site included a three-story, mixed-use building with retail on the ground floor and office space on the upper floors, but the project shifted to primarily retail.

“We went through all different iterations and ideas and proposed projects for this site and thought this was the best fit because it’s maximizing the what’s not there right now, and there’s very high demand for retail,” Buring said.

In February 2015, Fogelman, acting as Crown Centre LLC, applied for a $3.2 million building permit for shell construction. In 2014, Crown Centre filed a $6.1 million loan on the vacant property with Financial Federal Bank.

A ground-up with a contemporary design in that area has enabled Buring to push the envelope on asking rents, he said. According to first quarter data from CBRE, the highly-desired East submarket has less than 6 percent vacancy for retail with asking rents around $10 per square foot.

The immediate area has a daytime population of 81,988 with several Class A office buildings surrounding the property. The 6450 Poplar shopping center is adjacent to International Drive and just south of International Paper’s Tower IV. Several other office buildings face the shopping center across Poplar.

“In this whole area, there’s been a huge pent-up demand for restaurants,” Buring said, noting that several other restaurant projects are underway in the Poplar corridor.

Germantown Mexican restaurant Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana is soon to open its second location at 6300 Poplar at the Massey Road intersection. Closer to Interstate 240, Panda Express is building a 1,800-square-foot restaurant on an outparcel in the Target parking lot. Buring said the restaurant could be open by the end of next year.

In the Fogelman shopping center, PizzaRev will take 2,400 square feet and Pimento’s will take a 3,033-square-foot space, with both tenants facing Poplar Avenue. Eye Society, which faces International Drive, could open within the next 30 days. Babalu will open its second location at the beginning of 2017 in a 5,405-square-foot space in the back part of the shopping center near the International Paper campus.

There is about 13,000 square feet left of rentable space. Buring said that could be divisible into two or three tenants. He’s seeking higher-end retail, financial services or medical users to complete the center.

“With this project, we’ve got as much square footage on a great piece of real estate that we could fit and it’s a very unique architecture,” he said.