For the second time this month, a vacant former Stein Mart building has caught the eye of a new-to-market retailer — this time a Korean grocer.
Lotte Plaza Market will open its first Richmond-area location at 7801 W. Broad St.
The Maryland-based grocer is taking over the 45,000-square-foot space in the Olde Towne Shopping Center left vacant by Stein Mart, which closed its four Richmond-area locations amid its 2020 bankruptcy.
The location will be Lotte Plaza Market’s 17th overall. Most of its spots are in Northern Virginia and Maryland.
Requests for comment sent to Lotte Plaza Market went unreturned by press time. The 46-year-old chain offers Korean and Asian groceries, and each of its markets also include a food court serving Asian dishes, per its website.
Lotte Plaza Market is the first grocery chain to establish a presence in town in recent years, after a flurry of competitors like Publix, Wegman’s and Lidl expanded into Richmond through the mid-to-late 2010s.
Lotte Plaza Market is planning to open sometime in 2023.
California-based Capstone Advisors owns Olde Towne Shopping Center and was represented in the deal by Colliers International’s Rob Black and Robby Brownfield. Their Colliers colleagues Peter Vick and Harrison Hall repped the tenant, as did Michael Patz out of KLNB’s Baltimore office.
The grocer is taking about half of the overall square footage at the 91,000-square-foot, 50-year-old shopping center. Capstone counts 21 other shopping centers around the country in its portfolio.
Another local Stein Mart space was snapped up earlier this month when Sierra and Homesense, both owned by TJ Maxx’s parent company, signed on to open in the Stein Mart shell in Short Pump Crossing Shopping Center.
Jay Matthes, Capstone’s COO, said the company always considers chopping up vacant big box shells as they look to lease them up, but that doing so presents its own challenges.
“A lot of times with big box spaces like that, it’s not so easy to do the dividing because the buildings are not only big, but they’re also deep for a lot of traditional inline-type tenants. You need to find junior anchor tenants to replace them,” Matthes said.
“From our standpoint, finding junior anchor tenants doesn’t give as big an impact to the center as getting a grocer. If it’s food- or grocer-oriented, it brings a lot more customers to the center.”
Finalizing leases that bring a tenant into a market for the first time is often challenging as well, Matthes said, but he said having local and national brokers working the deal often helps get them across the finish line.
“(These deals) are never easy. They’re a big tenant, it takes time and effort. But a lot of the time it’s worth it,” Matthes said.