Monday, April 04, 2011

Grocer on the Bubble

Jen, a commenter on this post, wondered what was up with the Safeway at Long Reach Village Center. She noted that the in store pharmacy had recently closed and that she heard some rumblings from the stores employees about a possible closing.

“What's the scoop? Is the village center losing its anchor to a new supermarket?”

I really don’t have any inside information on this but I’d have to say that the long term prognosis for Safeway at Long Reach does not look good. Long Reach Village Center is very likely the next Columbia village center to lose a grocery store anchor.

It really doesn’t take rocket science to figure this out. The Long Reach Safeway is now boxed in by some pretty formidable competition. Target, with its recent expansion of grocery items, is less than a mile to the south and a newer Giant is a less than two miles to the north. When Wegman’s opens next year, also less than two miles away, the situation for the 38 year old anchor store will get even worse.

It is possible that the new owner of the village center could backfill the space with another grocer. Americas Realty purchased the center for substantially less than the previous owner paid so, theoretically at least, they could offer pretty attractive lease terms to a prospective replacement grocer. They could also determine that alternative uses could garner a higher return than a grocer and decide to carve the space up.

The good news for Long Reach is that in Wilde Lake, Kimco has already done much of the heavy lifting in changing the mindset that a grocery store in a village center is non-negotiable. 
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