November 06, 2017 06:28 AM
What's going on with Marketplace Mall in Henrietta? It's a question we've been asking since big plans were announced to revamp the mall a year and a half ago.
Several mall employees reached out to Pat asking what's going on. Marketplace was supposed to go from a traditional mall to all outlet by the fall of 2017.
The owners of Marketplace Mall, Wilmorite, made this promise:
"Our expectation is 90 to 95 percent of the tenants, when everything is done, will be new to the market," said Wilmorite's V.P. of Leasing and Development Dennis Wilmot in 2016.
Fast forward to today
There's some new life but only a few new stores, certainly not the 90 to 95 percent mark Wilmot had hoped.
I reached out to Wilmorite for an update.
As to the missed deadline, Dennis Wilmot released a statement telling me their original timeline was aggressive going on to say:
"Certain market factors have slowed the progress but we are headed in the right direction."
He did not give me a new timeline for the transformation.
Pat went to Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore for more answers.
Taney: Have they given you any target date for when this transformation will be complete?
Moore: Not really.
But Moore says, the few changes that have been made at the mall, even though small, are paying off.
"They seem to be generating greater sales and more foot traffic." Moore said.
We did find out the Town of Henrietta is aggressively working with the Wilmots, the family that owns the company, to make sure Marketplace doesn't become the next Medley Centre.
Taney: So the Wilmots have discussed the possibility of pulling out?
Moore: They have discussed that. That is a potential absolutely it's a business decision there’s a mortgage that is going to come due and the family will have to make a decision.
Taney: Do you really think it will ever get to that point?
Moore: That's a potential but Wilmorite, the Henrietta school district and our town board have been working to make sure that doesn't happen.
"There is obviously concern whether the mall is going to make it," said Steve Schultz.
He is running against Moore for Town Supervisor. The two haven't agreed on much,but whoever wins Tuesday's election promises to work with Wilmorite to avoid a retail black hole. Both Schultz and Moore say Wilmorite is a much better company than the one that owned the now vacant Medley Centre in Irondequoit and doubt the company would just walk away.
"But I would like to reach out to them and discuss ideas," Schultz said.
"Could we see a mixed use facility if they are having trouble with the outlet center concept? A place with offices, greenspace. They have a food court there and plenty of entertainment options."
Schultz said he talks with several millennials and R.I.T. grads who yearn for a place where they can work, live and play.
"They prefer an office space where they can walk to lunch and have other areas where they can walk around and do things and not a traditional office space. We have this giant space, let’s make it interesting," Schultz said.
Wilmot says although Wilmorite missed the deadline he's appreciative of the support the company has received from the Town and County, including COMIDA.
All players remain hopeful Marketplace won't only survive but thrive.
"We're all working together to come up with a solution that's a positive for the community." Moore said.
Here is Dennis Wilmot’s full response on the missed deadline for the Marketplace transformation:
'A critical piece of Marketplace Mall's success for the past 45 years has been the support of the Town and County governments. The momentous changes in the retail industry require adaptation and evolution. We remain committed to the course we set last year to convert the mall to an outlet center. Admittedly, the timeline to completion was aggressive and certain market factors have slowed our progress. But we are headed in the right direction and transformative deals do take time. We are grateful for the continued support of Supervisor Moore, County Executive Dinolfo, and Director Adair from Imagine Monroe (COMIDA).'
Dennis A. Wilmot
Senior Vice President
Wilmorite Management Group, LLC
If you have a question you'd like answered, email Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org
Created: November 06, 2017 06:28 AM
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