PED says new mall owner will discuss future today
Lake Havasu City officials had high hopes for The Shops at Lake Havasu, and the city is still paying $1.4 million to Alabama-based Regions Bank as part of an incentive contract for the mall’s development. Now city officials hope the third time will be the charm as a third owner takes over the mall’s operations.
The project was expected to include three anchor stores, four to six mini-anchors and as many as 90 shops, with a movie theater and an enclosed food court. The mall would create an estimated 1,600 construction jobs and employ about 1,400 Havasu workers. Estimated revenues were predicted to comprise $189 million in annual sales, $1.17 million in construction sales tax and $3.78 million in the annual two-percent sales tax.
The mall was a victim of bad timing, having opened at the start of the Great Recession. The mall was operated by Wolford Development Inc, which built the property under the development agreement with Lake Havasu City. After a 2010 lawsuit against Wolford by Regions Bank, the property was sold to California-based Capital Real Estate Ventures Inc. The property was again sold last week, with the help of the Lake Havasu City Partnership for Economic Development.
The PED will introduce residents to Havasu local Jarrett Portz, the new owner of The Shops at Lake Havasu this morning, and officials are optimistic for the mall’s future development.
City Council members and Mayor Cal Sheehy are expected to attend the event in a quorum of elected city officials that was described by city leaders as a “meet-and-greet” event. There, they will meet with the mall’s new owner and discuss The Shops’ future prospects.
“The Council was invited to learn about the new economic opportunities that are happening at the mall,” said Mayor Cal Sheehy. “I’m optimistic for the chance to repurpose the mall and allow it to be more useful for the community, and allow additional retailers to open there.”
The Shops’ newest owner will be its third in more than a decade, after its sale by its most recent owners, California-based Capital Real Estate Ventures. With help from the PED and plans for expansion, officials and employees both hope to see a revival at Havasu’s mall.
Angela Foulk, a manager at Hibbett Sports, has worked at The Shops at Lake Havasu since 2010. “It’ll hopefully get more active now, and we’ll see more customers,” Foulk said. “I hope they’ll be able to turn stuff around here … there have been three different owners and two mall managers since I’ve been here.”
Corey Wilcox, of Havasu sign-making company Tek Wrap, has lived in Havasu for 12 years. As new businesses prepare to open in the area, Wilcox hopes the trend will continue.
“I’d like to see more stores and more foot traffic here,” Wilcox said. “If the mall had more attractions, it’d have more foot traffic, and I think that’s what (the PED) is working on now.”
While many of the mall’s storefronts have remained empty since the mall opened, Wilcox is hopeful that will change.
“It’s been like this since I moved here,” Wilcox said. “With the PED involved, I think that will all change.”
The “meet-and-greet” event will take place in Building 4000 at the Shops at Lake Havasu today at 11 a.m. Under Arizona open meetings laws, the meeting will be open to the public due to the presence of Havasu’s mayor and city council members.