Latham Circle Mall owner David Allen, of Realty Financial Partners, said he is in discussions with a single-entity tenant that could buy up all the vacant space in the shopping center. He is expecting to have concrete plans for the mall’s future within a month.
Allen said a series of meetings are planned between Realty Financial Partners and a potential tenant. He said two or three more meetings in as many weeks will likely determine the direction of the deal.
It we decide to move forward, it will take a couple of weeks to get things going, he said.
He declined to go into detail about what type of tenant the Massachusetts-based company is currently in talks with, saying he `did not wish to go further` with that line of questioning.
In January, Allen said the mall could potentially be `repositioned` in the market. It sits on what many have described as the best location in the Capital District, the Latham Circle, yet it is down to about a dozen remaining tenants, including anchor stores such as Lowe’s, J.C. Penney and a Regal Cinemas.
Joseph LaCivita, director of planning and economic development in Colonie, said he and the planning board are excited to work with Allen to make the mall a `destination location` through a `primary redevelopment of the site.`
`We would love to work with Mr. Allen and whoever he brings to town,` he said.
LaCivita said it is in the best interest of the town to redevelop the site and get economic activity thriving once again.
`We have a lot of aging buildings, that being one of them,` he said.
He said neither a single-tenant nor the `cookie-cutter` stores that occupy most malls would be the preferable direction, though.
`That’s not going to work in this sort of climate,` he said.
Mixed use, office space or something walkable, to attract a diverse crowd, like the some 3,000 students at Siena College would be ideal uses, he said.
`I don’t think that’s a good location for a big-box,` LaCivita said.
LaCivita said specialty grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have expressed an interest in the area and might be able to `piggy-back` off of the Fresh Market being constructed on the corner of Route 155 and Route 9, just down the road from the Latham Circle Mall.
He also said he would like to see some means of public transportation to the location.
Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan said the town is eager to work with owners and tenants to allow the site to thrive, and he said the town is taking a pro-business stance.
`While various entities have expressed interest in the property, nothing concrete has emerged so far. The Latham Circle Mall remains one of our priority sites for redevelopment, and the town is willing to work with developers in support of a viable proposal for this site,` Mahan said. `In the meantime, we have new procedures in place to assure that all projects can be dealt with in a timely and efficient manner. The Fresh Market redevelopment took only seven months to receive final approvals from the town. In short, we are business-friendly and will work with developers in every way possible to support redevelopment of the Latham Circle Mall.`
This is the final article in The Spotlight series. Go to www.spotlightnews.com or check future issues to learn more about the mall’s direction.