Tommy Hodges Brings Life to Dormant Mall Site with Gateway Town Center

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012 12:00 am  

Otter Creek developer Tommy Hodges gets Gateway Town Center moving with two retail deals. [Photo by Jason Burt]

"It's going to have all the non-residential uses you can think of," Hodges said. "Town center pretty much describes what we're trying to do."

The mixed-use character of the development plan is a departure from past retail-dominated configurations. Plans for the commercial property morphed from a proposed 1.2 million-SF mall in 1980 to a 578,000-SF lifestyle center supported by a 172,000-SF power center and more in 2006.

"In this environment, it is not possible to develop retail property in the traditional ways of the past," Hodges said. "What's going on in the nation is a lot of outlet malls. There will probably be 20 developed around the country this year."

With the Bass Pro and outlet mall sites under contract, about 100 acres remains to be marketed at Gateway Town Center. Hodges said there was a possibility to do some land leases or build-to-suit deals.

"But by and large, we're looking at selling land," he said.

Farther North

The southern part of the I-430 corridor is drawing more attention from retailers looking for west Little Rock sites as the market has improved.

Occupancy at Shackleford Crossings (about 80 percent) and The Promenade at Chenal (nearly 90 percent) continues to make gains after the financial meltdown stalled activity.

Undeveloped land at the Col. Glenn exit of I-430 has become a popular destination for prospective deals searching for a home.

"There's been a lot of activity but nothing that has solidified," said Eric Boen, a partner in Commercial Realty LLC.

Boen's family is part of an investment group that owns the northwest corner of Col. Glenn Road and I-430 slated for development as the Village at Brodie Creek.

Crain Ford is building a new complex on a 7.5-acre piece of the property purchased for $3.2 million. The dealership represents the first project to start construction at the 80-acre mixed-use development.



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