Stores' economic woes don't slow development

RICHMOND — Plans for the 120-acre Richmond Centre are on track, despite the financial difficulty some of the shopping center's stores have faced in recent months.

Eleven stores have signed on as tenants in the main portion of the development at Interstate 75 and Barnes Mill Road, including Meijer, Cine­mark, Belk and Home Depot, according to Charlotte, N.C.-based Crosland LLC, which is developing Richmond Centre in partnership with Greenville, S.C.-based Carolina Holdings Inc.

Restaurants such as Olive Garden and Logan's Roadhouse have committed to outlying locations within the development.

Representatives for two of the tenants, Dawahare's and Goody's, said the companies will proceed with plans to open in the center, though both department store chains have closed stores recently in the state as they reorganize under bankruptcy.

”Richmond's always been a good market, so we weren't especially worried about whether that would be a good fit or not,“ said Joe Dawahare, treasurer of the Dawahare's company. The store will move from its location in Richmond Mall to Richmond Centre.

Goody's stores in Lexington, Nicholasville and Paducah will close, and Dawahare's will close seven stores throughout Kentucky.

Construction of the Richmond Centre began in 2007 and is ahead of schedule, said Tim Sittema, senior vice president at Crosland.

JCPenney and Goody's will be the first stores to open in October, with the Cinemark theater following soon after, Sittema said. Openings will continue throughout the fall and into 2010 when Meijer opens.

Along with 800,000 square feet of retail space, the development is set to include 15.5 acres for two hotels and 60,000 square feet of office space.

There are 12 spaces still available in the development, according to Crosland's Web site.

Crosland will focus on leasing the smaller shops and outlying properties, such as restaurants, in the Richmond Centre, Sittema said.

”We're pretty excited about the restaurants,“ he said.

The company has received commitments from Culver's and Chick-fil-A, and expects more restaurants to sign on, Sittema said.

”We've got real solid activity,“ he said.