GREENSBORO, N.C. --- As the City of Greensboro pushes to fill empty retail spots and eliminate abandoned big box eyesores, local developers are actively recruiting new companies to invest in our area.
The City Council recently approved an $850,000 loan for Kotis Properties Holdings to develop a Roses retail store off East Cone Blvd. in Greensboro. The location is a former Winn-Dixie store in a shopping center near Summit Avenue. The loan is the first of Greensboro's big box revitalization venture.
"It's a very well-structured loan," said Greensboro Economic Development Manager John Shoffner. "The city is not in the banking business, but this is a win-win partnership."
Developer Marty Kotis said the space is about 52,000 square feet and will act as the anchor tenant of the shopping center. The deal, he said, has already caught the attention of "junior box" stores to fill neighboring spaces.
"We hope to open Roses in three or four months," Kotis said.
Shoffner explained, "By filling up this empty big box, it's going to take occupancy of that shopping center from 36% to 77%."
The Winn-Dixie has been empty for more than five years, according to Kotis. This his fifth Big Box "Refill" project.
Kotis' next idea is attracting a new grocery store to an empty space on Market Street. It's a former Kroger, neighbors tell Fox8, near Starmount Forest Country Club and Holden Road.
"We flew down to Florida to meet with Publix when we found out they were interested in the Carolinas and presented them 4 sites that we have, including the one on Market Street," said Kotis. "It would be a big deal if they came here."
The shopping center is currently home to one restaurant, a yoga business and the Guilford County Republican Party Headquarters. There are several empty store fronts, too.
"We know Publix will be building in Charlotte," added Kotis, "So we're just waiting to hear about a possible Greensboro location." Trader Joe's, he said, also looked at the space but decided against the location.
"It's perfect for a grocery store because we really need more variety in the market," Kotis continued. "And it's right here next to Starmount."
Shoffner said, "You know people like to frequent a nice looking, attractive shopping center, and I think it brings a lot of pride into the neighborhood."
It's also important, he claimed, for revitalizing surrounding neighborhoods, lowering crime and thwarting the vandalism that empty stores tend to attract.
"One of the things I like doing is turning around a market, take something that's a little bit blighted and make it a lot nicer," pointed out Kotis. " When you land something like Roses, they are the anchor effect. They help all the other stores be successful."