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Open-air Celebration


The announcements have been impossible to ignore. At a time when retail development is stalled, one property—Peninsula Town Center—is generating headlines.

The Hampton, Va., mixed-use project in February released the names of more than 50 new retail stores and restaurants that would open in 2010 in the million-plus-sq.-ft. redevelopment of the venerable Coliseum Mall. Among those banners? The Wine Loft, dELiA’s, Shoe Woo and CineBistro, joining existing tenants Macy’s, Barnes & Noble, Target and J.C. Penney.

The developers—Great Neck, N.Y.-based Mall Properties and Columbus, Ohio-based Steiner + Associates—say the project’s impending opening on March 11 is something to celebrate.

“In an economy that is down, we are opening this remarkable mixed-use project,” said Yaromir Steiner, founder and CEO of Steiner + Associates. “Today, to open a project with 70 tenants is a victory.”

Peninsula Town Center boasts some surprising stats. The apartments are 95% leased, the offices are more than 60% leased, and the retail will open at 85% to 90% occupancy.

“There are really three fundamental reasons for the project’s success,” Steiner said. “First, it is located in a community—the city of Hampton, Va.—that was keenly interested in reinventing a dying mall into a robust retail project that would reclaim the vibrant aura of the area. Combined political and financial efforts, in combination with professional planning, set the stage for this project.”

In addition, said Steiner, one man’s commitment has made all the difference. Mall Properties’ founder Morton Olshan put significant financial resources behind the project to see it to fruition. “He has long been attached to the mall that he built in 1973, and it was extremely important to him that it be re-established as a viable, dominant shopping venue,” Steiner said.

The third reason for Peninsula Town Center’s success is the involvement of Steiner + Associates. The co-developer of the much-heralded Easton Town Center knew how to bring a new generation of town centers—one that is responsive to community expectations—to the table.

Even so, added Steiner, the project couldn’t have happened without the retailers that gave the project the nod.

“Without the retailers and restaurateurs who believed in us and stretched to open their stores within the limitations and challenges they faced, we wouldn’t be opening this project. It was a team effort.

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