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Shopping centers sign new tenants

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Quandrica Bellamy, left, owner of Wee R1 Kidz Zone, plays peekaboo with Jon Crocker, 6, on Wednesday at the child care business at Oakwood Shopping Center.

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BY COREY DAVIS
Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Out of town developers and investors are bringing activity to a pair of shopping centers on the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount.

In April, the Oakwood Shopping Center on North Fairview Road saw longtime tenant Maxway close after Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers Inc. decided not to renew the lease on the store. Despite Food Lion being there, Maxway was an example of the several empty spaces in the Oakwood Shopping Center.

However, a Charlotte real estate company has taken over the Oakwood Shopping Center and is spending several hundred thousand dollars to revitalize and make improvements to the more than 40-year-old, 102,922-square-foot retail center and bring in new tenants in the process.

Doug Hines, property manager for Primrose Hill LLC, said more than 30,000 square feet of space has been leased in the past four months as the company’s leasing agent, Jon Day of Jon Day and Associates in Greenville, who was hired by Primrose a few months ago, has inked deals with two tenants and two more are in the process of signing leases.

Hines said Primose is in the final stages of negotiations of signing a national retail tenant to move into the space of the former Maxway. Day said a deal is close with a tenant that will be occupying one of the outparcel spaces at a former bank building at the shopping center.

Day added tenant deals have been signed for a new beauty supply store that’s likely to open by the end of next month. Already opened is an after-school drop-off child care service called Wee R1 Kidz Zone that resides in a 4,200-square-foot renovated space at 1621 Eastern Ave. Wee R1 Kidz Zone is ran by Quandrica Bellamy. 

“She is a nice young lady and we want to do whatever we can to help her be successful,” Day said.

Hines said Primrose only does business in North Carolina and South Carolina and is committed to making sure the Oakwood Shopping Center does well in the area, unlike the former owners based in Florida that seemed to neglect the center and allowed it to run down.

Hines said it was important to hear from the existing 10 to 15 tenants about their concerns and listen to their advice on what was needed to upgrade and improve the Oakwood Shopping Center.

“This was an ownership group from out of the state that really weren’t doing what was needed to be done at the center and they certainly weren’t looking at spending any money on it to attract better tenants,” Hines said. “We immediately went in there and put an entire new roof on the center. We have it very well lit as we’ve put in new LED lighting in the center, in the walkways, parking lot, back of the parking lot. We also have cameras to help people feel secure and we have an onsite handy man that repairs everything very quickly.”

The vision is to return Oakwood Shopping Center to a place where people in the community can get the goods and products they need without having to go out of their way to do it.

“We want to make it what it was when it was first built and make it the center of the community,” Hines said. “I think a lot of people in the community have to drive a few miles that they could walk to in the past. “The stores we are looking to attract are service stores like a hair salon, barber shop and laundromat. We want to concentrate on businesses that will serve the community.”

A couple miles down the road, the formerly dormant and dilapidated Edgecombe Park Shopping Center will soon be 100 percent occupied, according to Walt Crayton, owner of Crayton Commerical in New Bern, a general contracting company that has built its niche by re-developing shopping centers.

Although he wouldn’t disclose the name of the tenant because of a confidentiality agreement, Crayton said, the 10,183 square feet of space will be occupied by a national retailer that should open by the end of the year. The revitalization of the Edgecombe Park Shopping Center began with Roses opening in 2013. It continued with the Dollar Tree opening a few months after. In 2015, a Pizza Hut opened at the Edgecombe Park Shopping Center.

“To have that shopping center at full occupancy would be pretty cool because when we purchased that place it was nearly about to fall down,” Crayton said. 

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