The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

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December 3, 2013

Mall reconstruction said ‘imminent’

GREENVILLE — The proposed transformation of Greenville’s Crossroads Mall into a “big box” shopping center is still a go, although there is no date as to when the highly anticipated project might actually begin.

“I’ve been told construction is imminent,” said Jim Weir with The Retail Connection, brokers who have lined up several major tenants for the development. “It could be tomorrow, it could be two weeks from now.”

Weir seems to believe that the actual dirt work on the center will begin sometime in early 2014 and he is confident that it will get underway.

“The tenants are all done,” Weir said, noting the leases have all been signed for a center which will, when finished, look drastically different than it does now.

“The mall will no longer exist,” he explained. “That space between Belk and JC Penney will be removed and all of the tenants will look out to the street.”

Representatives with Triyar Retail Group, the owners of the mall property at 6834 Wesley Street, could not be reached for comment about the project.

But Greenville City Manager Massoud Ebrahim said he had been in contact with the company.

“They are still working on the project,” Ebrahim said. “They are very optimistic the project is going to start very quickly, but they could not give me any date.”

In March 2012, the City of Greenville entered into an agreement with Triyar/Crossroads Greenville Properties for a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the property. The city would receive a portion of the increased sales taxes generated by the redevelopment of the mall, splitting the increase with the mall’s owners.

Under the terms of the agreement, Triyar/Crossroads intends to invest approximately $11 million on the transformation.

But since the agreement was signed, little has been done to the site.

The agreement required the developer to begin construction on the project within six months. In August 2012, work crews performed some demolition work to one wall.

“In reality, they did get a building permit,” Ebrahim said, indicating that was sufficient under the agreement to serve as the start of construction.

Under the proposed plan, mall anchors Staples, Belk and JC Penney will remain at their current locations, while Beall’s and Hibbett Sports will be relocated into newly created spaces, with the remainder of the leasable area occupied by retailers new to the project.

Weir said tenants which have been confirmed for the center include Marshall’s, Ross, Petco, Encore Shoes and Rue 21. A separate building on the property will be leased to Mattress Firm, Great Clips and one other tenant.

“I think everyone in Greenville is going to have a choice in where to shop,” Weir said. “Those are all good, solid retailers.”

Under the agreement the City of Greenville will pay the developer grant payments calculated on anticipated sales tax increases. As of March 2012, Crossroads Mall was generating $23 million in annual taxable sales based on a five-year average. After the improvements are made, the project is estimated to generate $47 million in annual taxable sales.

Under the agreement, the City will continue to collect 100 percent of the sales tax payments on the $23 million base which equates to an annual sales tax revenue of $316,250. The term of the agreement is 15 years and any additional sales tax generated from the project will be split equally between the city and the developer.

Earlier reports indicated the developer was required to make an investment of $10 million within the first 18 months of signing the agreement, although Ebrahim said that was never made a formal requirement under the contract.

Ebrahim said the owners won’t receive anything from the city until such time as the redevelopment is finished.

“Until they complete the project, there is not going to be any commitment from the city,” Ebrahim said.

The mall opened in 1983, but will likely celebrate its 31st birthday as something completely different.

“Everything should be done by next Christmas,” Weir said.

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