Economic development group partnering with The Shops in redevelopment deal

January 9, 2019

Some Lake Havasu City retailers have a new landlord: The Partnership for Economic Development.

Lake Havasu City’s contracted economic development arm is taking over nearly 200,000 square feet of The Shops at Lake Havasu.

The PED announced the partnership with the shopping center, home to large retailers including Walmart, JC Penney and Dillard’s, on Tuesday afternoon. PED Executive Director James Gray said his organization has worked over the last two months to iron out the deal with The Shops. He declined to provide details of the arrangement, but he said the PED will take over nearly 200,000 square feet of the mall property and redevelop it into a more profitable business base. It wasn’t immediately clear which businesses at the mall are affected by the new partnership.

When the outdoor mall on Lake Havasu City’s northside was first proposed in 2005, it was envisioned as being home to three anchor stores, four to six mini-anchors, a movie theater, and roughly 80 to 90 shops. At the time, developers believed it would eventually employ about 1,400 full-time employees.

Elliott Scott of EAS Investments, the former owner of the leases handed over to the PED, said attracting national retailers to Lake Havasu City proved to be more difficult than anticipated. “Without having a local presence in Lake Havasu, we decided to focus on creating a partnership with the PED,” he said in a news release. “Mixed-used developments and diversification is crucial in today’s retail market spaces and we believe their out-of-the-box thinking is what this space needs to hit its potential.”

Gray said the deal with the PED would bring “substantial opportunities for employment and increased foot traffic to all retail operations.”

“From our perspective, we are looking at taking an incredible facility, which happens to be an under-performing asset, and turning it on for the community,” he said in a news release.

Gray said PED, which operates under a contract with Lake Havasu City to develop the city’s economic base, doesn’t intend to become a long-term landlord at the Shops. Gray also said no money designated for use in several planned Vision 20/20 projects, which comes from the prize money awarded in 2017’s “America’s Best Communities” contest, would be used in the redevelopment project.

The PED also announced it is working with Desert Land Group, a local real estate and development firm currently building the Havasu Riviera development on the city’s south side, to help develop a commercial strategy at The Shops.

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