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Posted on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 3:09 p.m.

MC Sports announces Ann Arbor expansion with move into ex-dollar theater at Briarwood Mall

By Paula Gardner

MC Sports will move its store from Pittsfield Township to Briarwood Mall this fall, nearly doubling its size and taking its place as the fifth anchor store in Ann Arbor’s 1.1 million-square foot shopping center.

The new 22,000-square-foot store location will include the space occupied until Sunday by Briarwood Dollar Movies 4, a discount theater and gameroom in an adjacent space.

MC Sports will move by early October from Oak Valley Center, a Target-anchored shopping center at I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road.

“The location we have is a pretty good location, but it just doesn’t have the space that we need that we feel will make the store successful,” said Ed Rix, vice president of marketing for the 80-store Grand Rapids-based chain.

The store, at 12,000 square feet, is about half the size of the MC Sports floorplate for newer and remodeled stores. In addition to Ann Arbor, several stores in other states are going through similar moves and expansions, including stores in Lima, Ohio; Springfield, Mo.; and Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

The additional space will be used to expand hunting and fishing merchandise, including firearms, Rix said. Other expanded product lines will include baseball and softball items, soccer equipment, and custom uniforms for area sports teams.

The addition of sporting goods to the 120-store Briarwood Mall is welcome, said Ida Hendrix, mall manager. Dick’s Sporting Goods had explored building a store on an outlot of the mall several years ago, Hendrix said. Instead, Dick's selected a site in Pittsfield Township, and those plans are moving forward.

The deal for MC Sports started to take shape in 2009, Hendrix said.

“I think it will add something to the shopping center,” Hendrix said. “…. I think there’s a good fit, and a good demand for that type of use.”

The theater had a long-term agreement with the mall that gave its management the right to terminate the lease if a tenant willing to pay full price for the space signed a deal, Hendrix said.

The size of the space, she added, made it difficult to lease to typical non-anchor tenants. The Gap and H&M stores, for example, are 13,000 square feet. By adding the adjacent gameroom space - formerly part of Burger King - enough room was created for the MC Sports store.

The store’s new location in the mall is between department stores JC Penney and Von Maur, on the southwest side. By the time the store opens in October, it will have its own exterior door to the parking lot , Hendrix said.

Briarwood, built in 1973, is Washtenaw County’s largest shopping center. Its assessed value in 2010 - based in part on lease revenues for inline stores, excluding anchors - was $40,738,100, down from $43,877,300 in 2009. Anchors in addition to JC Penny and Von Maur are Macy’s and Sears.

Two other new tenants will be joining the Briarwood lineup this year: One is Pandora, a jeweler that will open its second Michigan store in Ann Arbor. The second hasn’t been announced.

“(Shopper) traffic is good,” Hendrix said. Leasing also has picked up, she said.

Sales, she said, “are a little flat, but they’re still better than last year.”

Nationally, the retail sector remains challenged as summer sales reports show weaker sales heading into summer. However, mall owners report fewer requests for tenant concessions.

Briarwood is co-owned and managed by Simon Property Group. The Indianapolis-based real estate investment trust also is the largest mall owner in the U.S.

Simon’s stock was trading at $83 per share at midday Tuesday, giving it a market cap of $24 billion.

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.


Rod Johnson

Thu, Jul 1, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

There's at least one pawnshop in Ypsi (on E. Michigan) that sells firearms, and one in Whitmore Lake. That link is pretty poor. (I haunt pawnshops looking for that one magic guitar... no luck so far.)


Thu, Jul 1, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

@Hmm, where are these pawns shops where the poor can go buy these discounted firearms? All the ones I see listed here are further than the locations I previously stated. For your information a decent S&W Sigma, new can be had at those stores in the $300-350 range. Glocks used from Law Enforcement Agency trade ins near to that from authorized dealers. AND from an actual gun shop they'd get better customer service and possibly some training than they could hope for from a pawn shop. Finally IF you are concerned enough with the safety of your family which would be more important to you? Taking them to a movie or the capability to defend their lives? Take a second to think on it..... Reminds me of one time I showed my father a fancy bicycle helmet that I had bought. When I told him how much I paid for it, he cried that it was awfully expensive. I asked him how much he though my head and therefor my life was worth. We never spoke of it again. How much is your life and/or the lives of your family worth? In any case I and my family are sad to see the Dollar theater go also. I have no say in what goes in its place. I can however point out that certain viewpoints are both narrow and ill conceived.


Thu, Jul 1, 2010 : 9:59 a.m.

Guns can be purchased quite easily at pawn shops, and they are most likely going to cost a lot less than something brand new from Cabelas or MC Sports. Secondly how many "low income" people are buying brand new Glocks and Smith and Wesson's? If you are already having trouble taking your kids to see movies at the *regular* theater are you really going to have the disposable income to be purchasing expensive firearms? But since that only affects those poor folks it is none of "our" concern right? That is a sickening attitude imo


Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 9:57 p.m.

"sickening that the one place where a low-income family could afford to treat their kids to some fun is now gone, replaced by a store that sells guns..." Wow just wow. First its not settled that this particular MS Sports will sell guns. Second low income people are victimized at a higher rate than others and are less likely to be able to go to Cabelas or Dexter or Westland which are the closest gun shops to my knowledge. Are you saying that low income families deserve less opportunity for self protection? Sorry poor people, we know you probably need protection more than us but you'll have to make do with 911 (never mind the service cuts of late). Because that is the ugly flip side to your argument.


Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 7:58 p.m.

sickening that the one place where a low-income family could afford to treat their kids to some fun is now gone, replaced by a store that sells guns...


Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

Yahoo just what my family needs another retail store and one less fun thing to do in Ann Arbor. We were all really bummed to hear that there will be no more dollar movies. I guess going to the movies is now one more thing I can add to our "we can't afford to do it" list. Good for you Briarwood as now you will be full of 100% useless junk that no one really needs. ONE WORD FOR SPORTING GOODS! PLAY IT AGAIN SPORTS! Remember the ultimate form of recycling is re-using.

Rod Johnson

Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

Yeah, the Wayside was quite an experience. Weren't the State, the Michigan, the Campus (right? the one on South U?), the Wayside and the University Drive-in all part of the same chain? Interestingly, I don't hear a lot of nostalgia for the Scio Drive-in. I wonder why? :)


Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

Although not in Ann Arbor, one can't forget the Wayside out on Washtenaw when talking about movie theatres. Now we have an empty Farmer Jack out there.


Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

Soon, I shall be able to get a gourmet cheeseburger, a wood-fired pizza, and some sporting goods on every single corner of Ann Arbor proper...oh the joy. I'd still rather have a movie theater.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 7:10 a.m.

Also, I fixed the link to the Dick's Sporting Good story. Thanks! Here it is:


Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

Damn, I'm good. I called it. I said a Dick's was moving in... so I got the store name wrong, but not the type of retailer. I am Rasputin!

Paula Gardner

Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 6:51 a.m.

A few answers to some questions here... Yes the existing store (near Chuck E. Cheese in the Target center) is 12,000 square feet. The new one is 22,000 square feet. I talked to one of the mall's owners yesterday - no new tenant is moving into that space and they haven't started to market it. He said he hasn't had any direct contact with MC Sports about their plans. I also asked Ida Hendrix about the firearms in the store. She said "that is new for us," but added that she doesn't expect any problems. Since the new store will have an exterior door, it is possible they could keep shoppers from walking into the mall with their purchases. As far as the size of other anchor stores: Anchor stores and their taxable values: Macys: 186,700 square feet JCPenney: 169,000 square feet of store and automotive service area. Sears: 162,100 square feet Von Maur: 100,000 square feet That info is from a story I wrote in December that puts the mall into a regional real estate perspective. Here's the link: MC Sports is obviously smaller than those - but much larger than other inline stores. That, plus the visibility from the exterior door, is what makes is an anchor store. In real estate-speak, it would be "junior anchor." As far as Briarwood having an "old" feel, it's playing the hand it was dealt when built in the 1970s - and it spent a lot of money on updates in about 2003-2004 (center court is much brighter, for example). As a real estate writer and longtime area resident, I actually appreciate some of Briarwood's attributes - location and high occupancy are at the top of my list. I'm glad the building and location aren't going to waste. We can say "for a town like Ann Arbor," and mean that we deserve more - but we really are a smallish trade area and very close to Detroit, where many malls have lots of vacancy. I grew up shopping at either Fairlane or Westland - haven't been to Fairlane in about 20 years, but my last drive past Westland was pretty bleak. And yes, that word was supposed to be "outlot" - Dicks Sporting Goods had committed to building near the LaZBoy store (no new buyer yet on that, btw - checked yesterday) but then submitted site plans in Pittsfield Township for a site on Lohr Road. Those plans are now moving forward again.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 10:08 p.m.

"and those plans are moving forward." - link is broken


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 9:34 p.m.

BTW my reading comprehension is not that poor: " In addition to Ann Arbor, several stores in other states are going through similar moves and expansions, including stores in Lima, Ohio; Springfield, Mo.; and Mt. Pleasant, Mich. The additional space will be used to expand hunting and fishing merchandise, including firearms, Rix said. " The additional space will be used to expand...merchandise...including similar locations or Ann Arbor specifically? Can you parse that specific information from the text? A little ambiguous no? How about a little follow up Ann and answer that question? Plus if Briarwood will be modifying their policies to allow patrons to be able to walk in and out with any purchases?


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 9:25 p.m.

Considering that I am Asian and used to ride several Japanese motorcycles the term is neither bigoted nor inappropriate. You're suppositions to the contray are quite so. Now then back to the topic. 1) Simon Malls/Briarwood has a "weapons" prohibition. 2) The only MC Sports currently with an FFL that I know of is the (I believe) original one in Grand Rapids. The store at it's curent location does not sell firearms to my knowledge. 3) Ann Arbor has fought against gun stores in the past and considering the comments I usually find on here I'd be surprised that they'd be allowed to. So my suppositions come from educated guessing, not bigotry.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 9:21 p.m.

MC will fit in great at Briarwood. Fitness clothing and gear always seems to be in demand. Question - what will the former MC space become in the Target center?

Elizabeth Nelson

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

@ricebrnr-- What is FFL?


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 8:37 p.m.

MC Sports instead of a discount movie theater? How does that seem like a good idea? I don't find anything special about the MC Sports stores, and don't see how this is good for the Mall. Wasn't the movie theater bringing in thousands of people that after and/or before a movie would shop at the mall, wasn't that bringing in a lot more business than a sports store like MC could ever do? Something tells me this store won't last.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 8:21 p.m.

Bet if the MC Sports had their FFL, they'd get quite some patronage then. One of the only sectors of the economy that's still growing...just saying. Never happen in AA though


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 8:14 p.m.

hypsi, its called making a profit. With the advent of the internet and online shopping, stress on malls is greater than ever. Briarwood clearly sees this as an opportunity to generate more revenue than the Dollar theater did. It isn't greed to make money so you can continue to work and feed your family. It isn't greed to generate a profit. The whole point of commerce is to make money. Why else would you sell something if not to benefit from doing so? That being said, MC Sporting Goods stinks. That they think this is their best option should tell you how far Briarwood has fallen. Why go there when you have buy the same stuff at Meijers, online, or at Cabelas which is less than a hour away? MC Sporting Goods is a dinosaur.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

I recall in the 70s, going to the Briarwood movies to see Animal House. I was in college and it was THE movie to see.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 6:17 p.m.

Bummer, I'd rather see the movie theater stay..then a sporting goods store. Agree with a couple of other posters, with the economy the way it is and movie prices they way they are, the movies at Briarwood was one of the few ways we could go out as a family and not spend more money then we can afford. In fact the movies are the only thing we do/did go to Briarwood for. Usually we would get to the mall early and then look around at a few store or have lunch while waiting for the movie time... In the long run, Briarwood might lose some business..I know that we won't have any need to go there anymore. Ah well, greed trumps in the business world.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

It sounds like the one by Chuck E Cheese is moving to Briarwood


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

Now I'm even more depressed. MC Sporting Goods? Don't we have some of those in A2 already?


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 4:52 p.m.

Boy Hermanns,Ferrels,Rocky Horror pictue show,Star Wars all these posts about the movie theater bring back memories

Rod Johnson

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

There are several suggestions in the thread on the theaters closing. Paula, in "Dicks Sporting Goods had explored building a store on an outlet of the mall several years ago" did you mean "outlot"? (Is that a word?)

Susan Montgomery

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

The article about the movies closing came out this morning: sad...


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

WHAT?! I can't believe the theater is closing! I'm so mad. That's about the only place my husband and I can afford to go for a date in this economy. Why are they closing??? They always had a lot of customers during prime times. And the price made it easy to go see a movie on the spur of the moment. Anybody know of any other theaters like that in the area so an low-income family can enjoy some time out???


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 3:33 p.m.

I'm very sad to see the movie theater leave Briarwood. Great value and great staff. I hope the folks who work there are able to find gainful employment after the theater was forced out by Briarwood management. As an aside, it amazes me that a city like Ann Arbor has a mall like Briarwood. I'm sure it was great when it first opened, but it now feels old and out of place. I live in Ann Arbor and would rather do my mall shopping at 12 Oaks in Novi. If someone were to build a new mall in the area with updated amenities and a newer feel, I bet Briarwood would become a ghost mall.

Haran Rashes

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

I would appreciate if would please clarify, how large is the new space for MC Sports? You imply that their old space at Oak Valley was 12,000 square feet. Also how does the new space compare in size to other anchor tenants at the mall?

Denise J. Murray

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 2:52 p.m.

Competition works well in a shopping center environment. The more people have to choose from, the more likely they will come. It is the nature of a shopping center. Landlords are not prohibited from allowing competitive businesses to lease space, or we would have only one dress shop, one shoe store, one sporting goods store, etc. If more people come to Briarwood because we add strong tenants such as MC Sporting Goods and Pandora, the more traffic will be here for the other stores at the center.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 2:24 p.m.

I remember going to the mall in the 80's as a pubescent and spending my time in Hermann's, while the women in my family went elsewhere. I don't think there has been a lock, stock and loaded sporting goods store in Briarwood since they left. I have to think a lot of the atheltic shoe stores at the mall are not too happy about the new tenant. I wonder how those lease agreements read? Usually, the landlord is prohibited from allowing comeptitive businesses to rent space.