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There's an interesting story in the Charlotte Observer today about construction on the Bridges at Mint Hill coming to a halt. The project is still early in the process. Workers were grading the site when the project came to a halt. It's not like work stopped on half-completed buildings or anything.

The reason I find it interesting is because I imagine this is the sort of thing that's happening all across the country right now. Where work on development can be stopped--before it's too deep into the construction process--it is being stopped.

The story gets more interesting from there. The town's mayor told the paper that the mall is, "on hold until the end of the year and could not give a completion date." The developers, Chicago-based General Growth Properties and Charlotte's Childress Klein Properties, who refused to comment on the report, allegedly told the mayor "they needed more time to complete planning work before continuing construction."

That, to me, sounds like a cover for the fact that, frankly, it's a tough time to be building new shopping centers right now. Retailers are increasingly closing stores or slowing expansion plans. So it's got to be really difficult to lease up new centers. It would be interesting to know what level of pre-leasing the project has. One anchor is mentioned in the story, Belk. But no other retailers are listed.

I wonder if the problem really isn't the fact that they don't have enough tenants to justify continuing construction right now.

Elsewhere in Charlotte, Glimcher Realty Trust is simply giving up on one of its properties.

Columbus, Ohio-based Glimcher Realty Trust said in a statement it will no longer subsidize the money-losing mall, a longtime community anchor at Central and Albemarle roads in east Charlotte.

The company also said it will ask a court to appoint a third party to run the mall and eventually sell it.

...

Glimcher put Eastland up for sale in August 2005 but never found a taker. In the meantime, the mall's reputation and tenant roster suffered additional blows, including several well-publicized incidents of violence and the departure of numerous stores, original anchor Belk among them.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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