Wilmorite Management Group LLC on Wednesday announced the Marketplace Mall in Henrietta will convert to an outlet center.
The mall will undergo capital improvements, remerchandising of the retail mix and be rebranded as Marketplace Outlets, company officials said. The move represents the first-of-its-kind full conversion of an enclosed regional mall to an outlet center.
The Marketplace Mall opened in 1982 and currently has 1.1 million square feet of retail space.
Marketplace Outlets will fill a void in the Rochester market for outlet and value retail while repositioning the Marketplace Mall to take advantage of shifting market dynamics and consumer demand for brand-name merchandise at substantial savings, the company said.
Wilmorite has selected the Outlet Resource Group, a global alliance of experts in the outlet industry, to provide strategic guidance on the marketing and leasing of the center as it transitions to an outlet destination, Wilmorite said.
“We are fully committed to making this an extremely smooth and successful process,” said Dennis Wilmot, senior vice president of leasing and development for Wilmorite. “We are working hand-in-hand with our retail partners and TORG to explore opportunities to provide a dynamic mix of the most sought after brands to operate outlet stores in Marketplace Outlets.”
Preliminary discussions with tenants at the RECon convention in Las Vegas last week, were extremely positive, Wilmorite said. Retailer confidence in the conversion is reinforced by Aeropostale’s and New York & Company’s recent conversions of their stores in Marketplace from full price to outlet formats. The Limited expects to complete its conversion by June 20.
“Outlet shopping is the only growth sector in bricks and mortar retail due to its strong appeal to a wide range of demographic audiences from millennials to shoppers in their mid-40s and beyond,” said Lisa Wagner, principal of the Chicago-based TORG.
“Marketplace presents the best possible combination of factors to support this first-of-its-kind full conversion to an outlet and value destination,” Wagner said. “These factors include a location that is already well known, market demographics that align perfectly with those required for an outlet center and local ownership with deep ties to the Rochester community along with a stellar reputation and expertise in the shopping center business.”
Wilmorite also owns Eastview Mall, the Mall at Greece Ridge and Pittsford Plaza.
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