The site of the former Apple Market at 3719 Independence Avenue is expected to become a 10,308 square-foot Family Dollar by the end of 2017.
The developer of the site, Chuck Cuda of Opes Commercial Real Estate, will also bring in a nail salon (1,932 sq. ft.) to serve as an initial tenant. In total, the development will include six distinct businesses. Spaces currently without a signed tenant include one with 1,932 sq. ft. available, another with 6,600 sq. ft., and a third space that’s roughly 7,800 sq. ft. A 3,000 sq. ft. restaurant/ice cream concept has also agreed to move into the development, but the owner still needs to wrap up a franchise agreement before an official announcement can be made.
Cuda met with Northeast Alliance Together (NEAT) Neighborhood Leadership representatives on Tuesday, September 19 at the North-East public library. There, he received constructive feedback on businesses that community leaders would like to see move into the area. Options Cuda is pursuing include a pet store, a pizza delivery shop, a craft/hobby store, a coffee shop and a hardware store.
“I got some good ideas from the neighbors last night,” said Cuda on Wednesday, September 20. “My preference is for a pet store, pizza delivery…and I’d like to get some type of a retailer that the neighborhood will use, whether that’s a hardware store or a craft store. Something that will create some buzz in the neighborhood.”
Cuda told the Northeast News that legal and zoning restrictions prevent the development from including a grocery store, gas station, liquor store or a coin-operated laundromat. The developer added that he is not considering including a pawn shop or a pharmacy at the site.
Work at the site is proceeding swiftly, as interior demolition of the structure began on September 20. Opes Commercial Real Estate is scheduled to deliver the largest parcel to Family Dollar by October 31, and the other spaces are expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
“Our delivery for the other two tenants is by December 1. When you do a redevelopment, you don’t know what you’re getting into until you get in there. Our timeline can fluctuate,” Cuda said. “Ultimately, we want to get it done as quickly as possible.”
As for the structure itself, Cuda says that the existing stone and brick at the base of the building will remain, while the developer will clean up the stucco facade above.
“We want it to be welcoming and inviting. We want to have plenty of glass,” said Cuda. “We want to have a neighborhood community feel for the shopping center.”
Cuda acknowledged that some local residents might oppose the opening of another dollar store along the Independence Avenue corridor, but he suggested that having Family Dollar as an anchor tenant can serve as a springboard for additional retail at the development.
“The Family Dollar deal is already done, and it was really the driving force to get the project off the ground,” Cuda said. “That activity is going to breed more activity.”
The new Northeast development will be closely modeled after the Opes Commercial Real Estate development located in the Northland on NE Vivion Rd. At that site, Opes transformed a vacant Country Club Apple Market grocery store into Country Club Shops, a retail development that contains a full-service pet store, a cupcake shop, and a liquor store.
Ed Linnebur, the director of development and planning at Northland Neighborhoods, Inc., told the Northeast News that the Country Club Shops represents an attractive upgrade to the community.
“I would tell you that it’s a wonderful asset to the neighborhood,” said Linnebur. “It is an updated look for the streetscape, it’s attractive, it’s welcoming.”
Linnebur added that while there was some initial concern about opening a liquor store at the Country Club Shops development, Cuda and the Opes Commercial Real Estate team have done a good job of incorporating the community’s wishes at the site.
“Other than the liquor store that will be going in, I think everybody was pretty excited to see this development go,” said Linnebur. “I think everybody is on board to see how it goes.”