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With the exodus of Parisian, the retail transition continues in the Birmingham market. Belk is doing extremely well here and has big plans for the soon to be “flagship” store at The Summit. Birmingham and Charlotte will be the only markets to have a Belk “flagship” store. However, Birmingham has been courting Nordstrom for many years – even before the Belk acquisition of Parisian. The irony is that one would have thought the newer open air “lifestyle” center (The Summit) would get a Nordstrom before the older enclosed Riverchase Galleria. Now it appears that the Riverchase Galleria has an opportunity to land the highly sought retailer.

Completed in 1987, the Riverchase Galleria is among the largest retail / mixed-use centers in the Southeast (about two million square feet). During the late 1990s, the first “lifestyle” center in the U.S was built in Birmingham at the intersection of Hwy 280 and I-459 – one of the fastest growing areas in the Southeastern U.S. With about one-million square feet, The Summit brought many new “upscale” retailers to the Birmingham scene and is anchored by a Saks Fifth Avenue and Parisian (soon to be a flagship Belk). General Growth Properties is negotiating with a major anchor to locate in a redeveloped section of the Riverchase Galleria that will feature a “streetscape” design. Rumor in the Birmingham market is that the new anchor will be either a Nordstrom or Dillard’s. With the exodus of Parisian, do you think Nordstrom will come to Birmingham?


Birmingham article regarding Nordstrom:

Galleria makes way for new anchor

Owners purchase old Belk space, seek Dillard's or Nordstrom

Thursday, August 23

The owners of Riverchase Galleria have agreed to buy the 255,000-square-foot anchor space being vacated by Belk Inc., potentially paving the way for the Birmingham area's largest mall to land a Nordstrom or Dillard's.

The deal is expected to close Sept. 30, said Linda Zwern, head of Belk's western division based in Birmingham. The terms were not disclosed.

Bob Perry, general manager of the Galleria, said mall manager and co-owner General Growth Properties would look at remaking the west side of the mall into a more modern streetscape reminiscent of lifestyle centers such as The Summit and Patton Creek. A major department store would anchor the streetscape, he said.

Chicago-based General Growth has said it would like to land Nordstrom or Dillard's, two department stores absent from Birmingham's retail landscape. Both stores have been on developers' and shoppers' wish lists for years.

As part of the plan, the Galleria's parking decks would be reconfigured. General Growth also might eliminate the lower levels of the parking structures that flank the current Belk building so that the streetscape would span that side of the mall.

General Growth and its Galleria co-owner, Montgomery-based Jim Wilson and Associates, would likely have to invest $50 million to $100 million to make those changes. If they decide to go forward with the streetscape plan, it would not be completed until at least 2011, Perry said.

Expanding offerings:

Belk earlier this year said it would move into Parisian's high-profile spot in the Galleria along with one floor of the former McRae's site. The move will allow Belk to expand its offerings in the state's largest shopping mall, while gaining perhaps the most high-profile anchor spot in the Galleria.

Tim Belk, who was in Birmingham Wednesday to watch the Parisian sign come down and the Belk name go up at The Summit, said Belk will be completely moved into its new Galleria main store in September.

Belk's home store will operate out of the current Belk space through November. It will then move into the former McRae's building, which will also house a beauty salon and children's fashions, Zwern said.

Control of mall's future:

Belk acquired Birmingham-based Parisian last year in a $285 million deal with Saks Inc. The deal created multiple-store issues for Belk because the family-owned chain had already entered the market and some of the area's primary shopping sites either on its own or through its purchase of another Saks division, Proffitt's/McRae's in 2005.

When Belk announced it would move out of its current Galleria space, General Growth said it wanted to buy the spot so it could better control the mall's future.

Landing a Nordstrom "would really bolster the position of the Galleria," said UAB retail expert Robert Robicheaux. Nordstrom, an upscale Seattle-based department store operator known for stylish clothing, a large shoe selection and first-rate customer service, has been courted by Birmingham developers for years.

"It would give the Galleria a significant edge and, frankly, it would be something that ought to get The Summit's attention," Robicheaux said. Having a traffic generator like Nordstrom would help the Galleria compete for other high-end tenants that might have previously favored The Summit, he said.

Adding a Dillard's, meanwhile, would likely create some healthy competition for Belk and help out other tenants in the mall.

"It will certainly lay a great challenge down for Belk to secure or hold on to tremendously loyal patrons of Parisian who are waiting to see what Belk will do," he said.

Efforts to reach Dillard's and Nordstrom officials were unsuccessful.

Tops industry average:

The Galleria, which draws 12 million shoppers a year, already is performing better than most malls in the country. The Hoover mall reports about $500 in annual sales per square foot. By comparison, the industry average is about $350 a square foot, Perry said.

The hybrid mall concept is not new for General Growth, which has the streetscape addition in two of its properties in Georgia. At Cumberland Mall in suburban Atlanta, the company last year added 77,000 square feet with a streetscape that included Maggiano's Little Italy, P.F. Chang's China Bistro and The Cheesecake Factory.

In Augusta, General Growth, in a defensive move, added a streetscape in part to keep existing tenants from defecting to planned open-air developments. The tactic worked, and General Growth held onto the tenants, Perry said. Meanwhile, two of the four developers interested in putting Summit-style projects in the Augusta area backed out, he said.
 

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Just one small tidbit.....Raleigh is the eastern NC flagship of Belk, and in some ways carries the same brands as the Charlotte flagship, but maybe not as exclusive. But anywhoo......

Great news for Birmingham. It seems as if it has been a long time coming. It is great that Belk has been embraced and now hopefully another top dept. store will enter the market. Let's hope that both stores will carry full lines and top name fashion brands.
 

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Don't want to bust any parties, but I'm affraid you'll probly be landing a Dillards, and not a Nords. GG has been failing at landing Louisville a Nord for a while. Say they are not sure if they are interested in the market and what not, but Dillards.. We have enough Dillards in Louisville. They just seem more willing to expand and less particular than Nords.
 

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In a mid-sized city that is known for its higher end shopping (both chain and independent), this would not be too surprising. Afterall, we already have Saks 5th Avenue.

g-man, go back to GSP or wherever.
 

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I was somewhat surprised that Birmingham's Apple Store went to the Summit instead of the Galleria. I haven't spent time in B'ham lately, that might be why I was not expecting it.

I like The Summit, but I prefer the Galleria. Does anyone know if the Wynfrey Hotel attached to the Galleria does well?
 

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In a mid-sized city that is known for its higher end shopping (both chain and independent), this would not be too surprising. Afterall, we already have Saks 5th Avenue.

g-man, go back to GSP or wherever.
So, you want me to go to the airport? :?
 

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No, they will not land a Nordstrom. Thread is finished.
wow, you contribute so much! :eek:hno:

anyways....

i think bham could support it. but most other stores no. nashville has landed louis vuitton, tiffany's, and many more, but no nordstroms. i dont think with nashvills current market could handle it. we need more money in the parts of town that it could be considered.

bham, which has a few high end stores, but not over concentrated, i think it could easily handle one. i actually would love to see one in bham. i dont get down there enough, it would give me a great reason to get back there again!
 
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