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