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Posted on Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Two retail tenants sign deals to open in Arborland's former Borders store

By Lizzy Alfs


Two new retail stores plan to open in the former Borders space in Arborland.

Angela Cesere |

Related story: New retailer will move into ex-Borders store near Ann Arbor

Renovations are under way at the former Borders store in Ann Arbor’s Arborland Center, making way for two retail chains to open this fall.

Five Below, a discount retailer that targets teen and pre-teen customers, and beauty superstore Ulta recently signed leases to split the 22,941-square-foot space, said Arborland listing broker Michael Lippitt of Landmark Commercial Services.

The news comes more than a year after the Arborland Borders store closed —which was on the bookstore chain’s initial 200-store closing list after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

It also comes one day after Tom Goldberg, an owner of the Water Place Shopping Center, announced closeout retailer Big Lots plans to open in the former Borders space on Lohr Road.

Philadelphia-based Five Below carries a variety of items priced from $1 to $5. The merchandise, which primarily targets teens and pre-teens, includes sporting goods, games, fashion accessories, snacks, room decor and books.

The company has been expanding rapidly in the past year, with 50 U.S. store openings planned for 2012. Sales in 2011 topped $297 million, up from $125 million in 2009. There are about 200 stores currently open, including eight in southeastern Michigan.

Illinois-based Ulta is a salon and beauty superstore chain, with about 500 stores in 42 states. The retailer has announced it plans to grow to more than 1,000 U.S. stores.

Denise DiMeglio, a spokeswoman for Five Below, said the store will open sometime this fall. A representative from Ulta could not immediately be reached for comment, but Lippitt said it will likely open by November.

The space had an annual asking price of $14 per square foot, according to a listing by Landmark.

Lippitt said splitting a vacant big-box space for two tenants is common in Michigan right now — something that works well for “junior anchor” tenants.

“If you look around Metro Detroit or even Michigan, we have seven or eight examples of splitting vacant boxes. It’s a good combination; they help each other,” he said.

He said interest in the space vacated by Borders was strong, adding, "Clearly, the economy has been improving and retail real estate is very strong, especially in Michigan."

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


David Paris

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

Damn, I miss Border's!

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

I hope this doesn't mean that they plan to close the Big Lots in Ypsilanti.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Good to see the vacancies filling up, but these latest additions are niche markets. No foot traffic in Arborland. People drive there for specific stores. Hope these new ones will attract customers, but I have my doubts. They are too narrowly focused. I like the idea of a Container Store or Texas Roadhouse better. The entrance and exit to Arborland are terrible and the congestion along that stretch of Washtenaw is bad news. This may impact traffic in a negative way. There isn't any "great" store at Arborland to draw people in. Good luck to the new tenants.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

I give them 1 to 2 years... not very compelling concepts in a half-ass economy, in a location that is out of the way for many, and frequently choked with traffic. Those are also reasons so many retailers have come and gone over the years - Arbor Land is weak.


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

In case you haven't noticed, US-23 intersects with Washtenaw 1/4 mile east of Arborland, not to mention Carpenter Road (one of the busiest in town) to the east, and Huron Pkwy to the west, also heavily travelled, so the area would be congested, regardless. It is no secret that Arborland Mall has had trouble staying occupied ever since it was built.

Kara H

Sun, May 13, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

If it's out of the way, what are all those cars doing choking it with traffic. In other words, it's out of the way for You. Nice analysis (eyes rolling).


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

I wonder just how long the new stores will last @ Arborland?

Kara H

Sun, May 13, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

There's nothing wrong with Arborland as a location. Circuit City and Borders failed as businesses nationally, not locally.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Big Lot's has stores in Ohio, they are similar to a large flea market. Not as nice as Dollar Stores & make Walmart's look classy. That's NOT being snobby, simply truthful!


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Thank you. Big Lots is a terrible, trashy store. Go to the one in Ypsi on Ellsworth and check it out.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

Now if they can just fill that Circuit City vacancy.

Marie Willnow

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

I would love to see a Texas Roadhouse or a Famous Dave's go in where Old Country Buffett usex to be.

John Hritz

Sun, May 13, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Or Golden Corral...


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 6:42 a.m.

I just wish they never closed OCB :[ Signing up for their e-mail list before going and getting a bogo coupon was great! It brought the price to about $4 a person!


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

I still keep hoping for a Container Store. And a Cheesecake Factory.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Michigan is regularly one of the fattest states in the nation. He's missing a real opportunity! :-)


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

I've heard the Cheesecake Factory owner has a beef with Michigan and refuses to open one up here.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5 p.m.

A container store would be great!


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

hope the ulta store has a better sound system than the other one. Would have spent more time in that place except with scratchy music blaring, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Must be the aging of the elite that how the spin goes? Shopping is a hassle.....the stuff is not that well priced and is much poorer quality than in previous times. How many tops does one need? Jeans lasted forever when the denim was better qualiity...if they wear out now I guess you just spend more money replacing them.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5 p.m.

I think you are thinking of the wrong store. Ulta sells beauty care products. Shampoo, makeup etc. No clothes that I've ever seen.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Yes! Very happy about Ulta opening there, I can walk there instead of driving to the Cranbrook store.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Good news that those sites will be filled and improve the area's economy. Next, let's see the Liberty Street location with a bookstore or a grocery store like Plum or Whole Foods.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

There isn't enough foot traffic to support a grocery store in that location. Trader Joe's on Washtenaw has 12,000 customers a month, and I doubt a small grocery store on Maynard and Liberty would have even a small fraction of that. People certainly aren't going to drive to downtown A2 to go to a grocery store and hassle with all the one way streets, congestion and overpriced parking, if they can find it. Not nearly enough people live within walking distance of the old Borders to support a grocery store.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 6:40 a.m.

plum and whole foods are super snobby... i'd be alright with a trader joes though!


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

weren't you the one making "snob" comments on the other thread? I hate to tell you, but plum and whole foods are like the snob mothership.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

I don't expect that there, not because it wouldn't be awesome, but because in that location there would be no way to do truck deliveries to the store without blocking up traffic. There us no assessible high volume loading dock.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

It must really be about location. The site for the former Costco store has been empty since sometime in 2007 and there seems to be no interest in that building. But then again you can see the former Borders site from Washtenaw Ave. Glad to see businees finding locations anywhere in A2. Hopefully someone will find the other empty "big box" useable in the near future.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

Former Costco? I think you mean Circuit City. That being said, why wouldn't somebody want the anchor location as opposed to the one deep int eh back with little or very difficult views. I am guessing Hillers would have LOVED to have that spot open when they moved into Arborland. I am sure the rental rate is reflected based on location within the mall.

Basic Bob

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Circuit City? It's a huge space. Potential tenants for a space this size are looking outside Ann Arbor as well.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

I, for one, am outraged that the spaces aren't to be occupied by a locally owned discount retailer that targets teen and pre-teen customers, and a mom-and-pop salon and beauty superstore.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

"A sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invention. (Sarcasm detector explodes)"


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

not good... not good-natured... fails as sarcasm... welcome to

Terry Redding

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

Bb - must be early in the morning for you that you don't recognize some good natured sarcasm :-)

Basic Bob

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

And you can name one of each, of course.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

All of these new stores going in are just a reflection of the economy. There are plenty of people in Ann Arbor who will be happy to have discount stores to shop in.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 6:43 a.m.

in response to "hail2thevict0r" just because the economy will get better doesn't mean i want to buy overpriced items, i make a decent amount of money and still buy off brand groceries, and cheap clothes... nothing wrong with that.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

Polyjuice, I disagree. I'm not willing to cheapen the city I live in just so that people can buy a table at half price. The economy will recover and has been recovering ever since Pfizer left town. I'm going to argue against them, like I said, just as much as I would if they tried to put a walmart downtown. Because the Ann Arbor economy is largely built around the University it will never see the drastic lows that even neighboring cities like Ypsi have experienced in the last few years. Just because Pfizer left doesn't mean we need to replace it with a big lots.

J. A. Pieper

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Maybe Ulta is considered a discount store, but their selection is great, and I can't always afford to shop there, so I am not sure everyone considers them a discount store in a negative way. Also, why should I as an Ann Arbor resident not have the opportunity to shop at discount stores locally? There are a lot of "elite snobs" in Ann Arbor, but there are some residents who appreciate having access to discount shopping opportunities.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

Hail- Newsflash......the A2 economy and its "dynamic" hasn't been the same since Pfizer left and especially since the downturn of 2008. Although these comments about A2 being "too good" for discount retailers are hypocritical, the clearance bins at every other store in town can be wiped clean by locals but Ann Arbor is "too good" for an actual discount retailer to set up? Get used to more stores like this filling the voids....the economy isn't the same and it never will be.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

You may not be being ignorant, probably the wrong word to use, but you're certainly jumping to conclusions about me because I don't want Ann Arbor turning into one giant discount store.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

and I meant "clothing", not "closing", above.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Why is that a "problem"? Oh that's right you don't want plebeians anywhere near you.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

The problem being that these discount shops will be here long after the economy recovers.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

Great! Welcome to Ann Arbor! More jobs, more tax flow, more foot traffic in that half-dead strip. Now I'm going to sit back and watch all the Ann Arbor snobs start complaining about this one too, just like the Odd Lots article...

David Paris

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 10:15 a.m.

WOW... I've been searching EVERYWHERE for Leopard-print Duck-Tape, I'm so frickin' excited!!!


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Sorry, retail does not bring in more jobs, it just cannibalizes jobs from other stores. This is Ann Arbor, aren't the people intelligent here?


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

eagleman, it's neither of those things. It's wanting Ann Arbor to stay Ann Arbor and not turn into one giant discount store.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

hail2thevictr, wow. Classism/racism is not something you want to broadcast.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

You're right, why don't we just replaced the closed Borders in downtown Ann Arbor with a Wal Mart! After all, it's all about jobs - right? There's also something to consider in that if you fill up an area with dollar stores and walmarts the people with money stop shopping there.

Kara H

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

I think Big Lots is just a particularly unattractive store and comments directed at Big Lots were specific to them and their biz. I'm guessing you're not going to find a lot of general outrage against discount stores in these outlying malls. I could be wrong though comments do tend to be weirdly anti-anything.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

Big Lots...


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 11:12 a.m.

Lets not forget the " do we need another " comments