Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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MIXED-USE 314 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 open this year, including Gansett Wraps, Blaze Pizza, Tea More Café, NICABM, Pearl, Salt, Tang and Kathmandu Kitchen. National and regional restaurants and retailers — like Husky Pizza; Bank of Amer- ica; 7-Eleven; Moe's Southwest Grille; Starbucks Coffee; FroyoWorld Frozen Yogurt Lounge; and Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes — mix with local start-ups — like Geno's Grille and Dog Lane Café — to create a true downtown feel to the new development. The team wanted national and regional tenants, but it also focused on encourag- ing local retailers and restaurants, includ- ing student-started businesses, such as a Chinese restaurant and a karaoke bar, to join the center. Working hand-in-hand with start-up tenants, Charter was able to create a downtown that reflected the community. An example is Geno's Grille, which is Geno Auriemma's first restau- rant. He is the women's basketball coach and an icon at UConn — it was really im- portant to have him as part of the project, notes Dan Zelson, principal at Westport, Connecticut-based Charter Realty & De- velopment, which is handling leasing for the final phase of retail development at the site. While it's typical for restaurants and re- tailers to garner most of the excitement for a project, Storrs Center also brought much-needed essentials to the area with a 30,000-square-foot Price Chopper Super- market; a corner CVS location; UConn Health Center; Select Physical Therapy; The UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center and Puppetry Museum; and a three-level, 14,000-square-foot Education- al Playcare. "The mix of retail and residential at Storrs Center is very symbiotic," says Zel- son. "From a leasing standpoint, it's great to have all the residents, about 1,000 peo- ple, living above the project. For EdR and the university, it's a great catalyst to have all this activity and retail below a residen- tial component. We both get premiums for the properties, and it's really crossing all kinds of boundaries." The tenant mix at Storrs Center was quite thought-out and deliberate, especial- ly because the development team was fo- cused on making the project a downtown and not a traditional shopping center. Following discussions with the university, community and the development team, Charter targeted a few specific retailers to address needs in the community, includ- ing a supermarket and childcare facility to provide an alternative to the waitlisted university-sponsored childcare program. The rest of the tenant mix naturally fell into place due to the marketplace. The success of the project speaks for itself, with the 829 residential rental units maintaining 100 percent occupancy since opening the first phase in August 2012, and there is only approximately 5,000 square feet of retail space still available in the project's final phase. Furthermore, the university is able to use the new down- town as a recruiting tool, offering stu- dents a true college-town environment, and the local residents finally have retail, restaurant and residential options within their own community. "It is extraordinarily rewarding when an idea and a set of renderings becomes the very heart of a community," says Trubiana. "Storrs Center is a testament to the hard work, intelligent design and thorough ex- ecution displayed by every member of the partnership." SCB Storrs Center has 150,000 square feet of retail with student housing serving the University of Connecticut above. Storrs Center serves as a downtown for the University of Connecticut.

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