Shelbyville Road Plaza lands large import retailer World Market, addition of strip center to boost plaza to 300,000 square feet

Business First - April 23, 2004, by Toya Richards Hill

Cost Plus Inc., a national retailer of imported home furnishings, housewares, and gourmet food and beverages, is opening a World Market Store in an 18,300-square foot location in Shelbyville Road Plaza, said Benton Seay, president of plaza owner Hagan Seay Properties.

The burgeoning shopping center also is adding a 36,500-square foot strip center of shops.

“After both are completed, the plaza will have a total of just more than 300,000 square feet,” Seay said.

“With the addition of World Market and (recent new tenant) Off Broadway Shoes, we will now have seven major national anchor tenants,” he said. Having that mix creates “a synergy in the shopping center that creates additional demand for the small shop space.”

Atlanta-based Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse opened its Shelbyville Road Plaza store in April. Other anchor tenants include Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Circuit City, Linens n’ Things, the U.S. Postal Service and Borders Books & Music.

With large tenants such as these, “you create a certain critical mass that makes a … community shopping center into a regional shopping center,” Seay said.

Seay and his partner, Scott Hagan, took ownership of the plaza in 2000 and announced plans for a major expansion and renovation. Phase one of the plan included a Circuit City superstore and an expanded Hawley-Cooke Booksellers store (which has since been acquired by Borders).

Both World Market and the strip center are part of the center’s second phase of new development. Off Broadway Show Warehouse was the first tenant in that phase.

The remaining space to be developed at Shelbyville Road Plaza is phase three, at the southern part of the shopping center property. This will complete the development of the center, Seay said.

High-income women fit demographic: Oakland, CA-based Cost Plus operates more than 200 stores in 26 states under the names World Market and Cost Plus World Market.

The company, which has no other store in Kentucky, imports such merchandise as furniture, baskets, tabletop items and nonperishable gourmet food from more than 50 countries, said Melissa Oldenbourg, public relations manager for Cost Plus.

“We are always looking for different areas that fit our demographics,” which are women ages 25 to 55 who are homeowners, college-educated and have an annual income of $50,000 and above, Oldenbourg said.

Although she wouldn’t confirm Shelbyville Road Plaza as the site for a new store, she did say “It looks as if Louisville is on the schedule.”

She said her company, which is publicly traded, typically prefers “to position ourselves next to other lifestyle retailers” such as Linens N’ Things, and that its food and wine department makes the stores “stand out” from other retailer of imported home furnishings and goods.

Seay said construction of the building that will house World Market has begun. It will be located next to Linens N’ Things.

Construction, budgeted at $1.1 million, is being handled by Hagan Seay Development Co., and Seay said the space will be ready for Cost Plus Inc. to put in fixtures and bring in inventory “on or before Sept. 15.”

Oldenbourg said her company’s stores usually employee an average of 30 full- and part-time workers.

Shops to have range of tenants: Seay said construction of the new strip, which will be located on the south side of the center, next to Off Broadway Shoes and Wild Oats, will begin “in the next 30 days.”

“We expect these shops to be available for lease in the late summer, allowing tenants to open for the 2004 Christmas season,” he said. The space will accommodate “up to 15 different shops” and will include a variety of tenants, Seay said.

“We’re always looking for high-quality retailers, preferably strong local, regional and national tenants,” he said. “I’d like to get some apparel” in the space, Seay said.

Construction for the strip space also is being handled by Hagan Seay Development Co. and is budgeted at $2.5 million.