The former Kmart on Fort Jackson Boulevard will be redeveloped into a modern shopping center featuring several national tenants.
The development is another major boost for the emerging in-town retail corridor around Cross Hill Market, which brought Whole Foods to the Midlands a year ago.
A marketing-and-leasing plan, posted online by developer Bright-Meyers, shows plans for a new 98,000-square-foot shopping center on the site, to be called Rosewood Crossing. The shopping center would open next fall, featuring a Marshalls clothing store, Michaels craft store and PetSmart. The center at 4400 Fort Jackson Blvd., also has space for four as-yet-undetermined smaller shops.
“You’ll start to see more of that,” said Patrick Palmer, senior broker for NAI Avant, who is not involved in the Rosewood Crossing deal. As the housing market bounces back from the Great Recession, the move of one-time suburban residents to the downtown area is continuing, he said, and with it comes added retail development.
“It’s definitely a benefit to downtown,” said Ben Johnson, research and marketing director for CBRE Columbia, also not involved in the deal. “You really can live, work and play.”
Efforts Tuesday to reach the leasing agent and owners of the former Kmart property were unsuccessful.
The new center will fill in a site that has been vacant for more than a year since Kmart closed its doors after operating at the site for almost 50 years.
The site has been ripe for development since neighboring Cross Hill Market opened in the former Kroger shopping center in October 2012, bringing a mix of national and regional retailers to a once-retail-blighted area.
Retailers typically have entered the Columbia market on Harbison Boulevard and, more recently, in the Northeast Richland area. But, with the opening of Cross Hill, a new in-town shopping corridor began to emerge.
The corridor largely was formed by Edens – a major East Coast shopping center developer based in Columbia. The corridor links three Edens’ centers: the Target-anchored Shoppes at Woodhill on Garners Ferry, the new Cross Hill Market and Trenholm Plaza on Forest Drive at Trenholm Road.
The area is flanked by the gates of Fort Jackson and sits among some of the Midlands’ most affluent neighborhoods.
“I just think you’re going to start to see a larger push for in-town development,” said NAI Avant’s Palmer. “The retailers are looking for the next stable market.”
In large part, those retailers have found it in the emerging in-town corridor. In addition to Cross Hill – which has nine tenants – Smashburger and Moe’s restaurants opened in the area last year. PDQ, a new turkey-and-chicken restaurant, also is under construction in the former Burger King.
Cross Hill provided a place for upscale, local tenants, CBRE’s Johnson said.
“In an ideal world, it (Rosewood Crossing) will do the same,” he added. “The anchors generally provide a draw that will attract people. Then, the local retailers will benefit.”
Despite the absence of immediate interstate access, the area is popular because it is in the center of a cluster of neighborhoods with high education and income levels. “You’ve got a stable basis of densely populated, high-income areas,” Johnson said.