The Portland Tribune is a media partner of KOIN 6 News.
PORTLAND, Oregon (Portland Tribune) – Tom Kilbane, managing director of Urban Renaissance Group in Portland, the new owner-manager of Lloyd Center, told store owners they won’t see major changes to the mall for two years.
Kilbane explained that the city of Portland’s planning process is taking so long to make big changes to buildings, but they will soon see increased safety and a cleaner, better maintained building. These third-party vendors have been understaffed, but he’s asking them to hire more people.
A few dozen store owners met Kilbane and the mall’s current general and marketing managers in an empty store on the morning of Wednesday, December 22. Texas, had defaulted on their loan and that financiers, New York City’s KKR Real Estate Finance Trust, were excluding them and could sell the mall to a company that would shut it down. Kilbane explained that the news slipped in October during a Wall Street earnings call.
“What probably interests you the most is what’s going to happen,” Kilbane said. “And the short answer is: I don’t mean that nothing is going to change, we hope things will get better. But there are no plans to close the mall, or bring anything down. Our goal is to improve the operation of the mall, improve the tenant experience and improve the customer experience. “
He urged sellers to trust Urban Renaissance Group and renew their leases. When asked what the company would do to bring back the key tenants who fled (Marshalls, Nordstrom, Macy’s), he replied that they were advertising for small businesses to rent space in the mall. . He had also heard from “big box” stores which were interested but did not reveal any names.
“We are probably not in a position to sign five-year leases, as we do not yet know what the future plan will be.” he said.
He asked them to encourage other retailers to apply. Local pop-up stores filled some gaps at Lloyd Center as chain stores fled.
Keep calm and shop
Any idea of radical change at the mall remains secret. “So will it stay the same forever?” Kilbane asked rhetorically. “Probably not. But we’re going to start a planning process. And if any of you were to go through the licensing process with the City of Portland, you know it’s not going very quickly.
He said it usually takes two years. The Urban Renaissance group is already a KKR partner on properties in Seattle; she manages eight properties in Portland, mostly office and all with a commercial component, and has 28 employees here.
“This has been a really big deal for us, it’s almost 10% of our total wallet,” Kilbane said, adding that he lived two miles away and that photos of his teenage sons with Santa Claus had all taken at the Lloyd Center.
Sorry we are not closed
A supplier complained that he received calls from customers who believed Lloyd Center had already closed permanently. Kilbane said they wanted to run their announcement announcing their intention to revitalize the mall before Thanksgiving, but couldn’t until they became official partners on December 17. He apologized for the uncertainty this caused just before the holiday season.
Others in the room pleaded for three monthly meetings, to keep them apprised of management decisions.
Speakers focused on shoplifters and skateboarders who they believe made their jobs difficult. An official at the fast fashion store Forever 21 said it was difficult to hire 16-year-olds because they were afraid of facing shoplifters and fearful of violence. She complained that the store was losing thousands of dollars a week on theft. Previous owners cut security guard hours in half, but the Urban Renaissance group has pledged to restore it to previous levels, with more guards walking around in pairs.
Store owners asked if there would be a change in the no-intervention policy, whereby security cannot touch shoplifters and can only escort them out of the mall while allowing them to keep stolen goods. Kilbane said the problem was with the Portland Police Department and their response time, which is considered non-existent for petty crime.
Skateboarders were also criticized for damaging indoor floors and being “very disrespectful”, although one woman said they were “still part of the community” and believed there should be a skate park .
The mall’s operations manager said he already has a place in mind for this.
The Lloyd Center Marketing Director said: “Having a local partnership makes such a big difference. You (store owners) know this market is unique, and having owner-managers who understand that uniqueness is what will take Lloyd Center to the next level.
She added that the mall will be running a social media campaign in January and called on store owners for creative ways to team up to spread the word. They largely stopped doing radio and print commercials to promote the mall, relying on acquired media such as live spots on “Good Day Oregon”. The mall will also have more fun events in the future as it attracts shoppers.
Kilbane said in a statement last Sunday, as news of Urban Renaissance Group’s new partnership emerged, “Our ambition is to embrace and preserve the characteristics of the property that make it special, including retail, creative workspaces and ice skating “.
Store owners feared their rent would increase, but he reassured them, saying he knew they couldn’t absorb the rent increases just yet.
A worried store owner said it looked like he had been asked to wait and see.
“You’re not trying to get anchor stores back or trying to bring in new restaurants. It doesn’t revitalize Lloyd Center, it’s like it’s a model of waiting while you decide what what you’re going to do with space, ”she said. .
Kilbane responded, “I wish I could be more definitive on what this transition will look like, but we just don’t know. We have a lot of very interesting inquiries from people we would consider stores to. big surface. “
They are still working on the long-term vision for the mall, which he set at 15 to 20 years.