Delmarva Now: Resort Shopping Center Adds 3 New Stores
OCEAN CITY — In a sputtering economy where many empty commercial spaces continue to gather dust, a venerable north Ocean City shopping center is happily adding three new tenants this spring.
The Montego Bay Shopping Center will add national chain store Dollar Tree, a family-owned frozen custard shop called Bodacious Buckets, and Peninsula Rehab & Sports Medicine.
Current tenant Trible’s Appliance Parts also expanded their business space by 25 percent, growing from two storefronts into three.
The shopping center is now 85 percent leased, with some of the contracts having taken more than a year to put together, said Greg Custer with leasing company Trout Daniel & Associates.
Custer said leasing on Coastal Highway means dealing with a seasonal market, and that means the pool of tenants is smaller than a suburban center in Salisbury.
He said he’s glad to have Dollar Tree as a national tenant. He said Dollar Tree is doing a “very strong” business at their West Ocean City store, and saw north Ocean City as under-served. A building permit was issued April 15 for the 9,500-square-foot store, and it should open by Memorial Day.
Lesley Rogan, a physical therapist and co-owner of Peninsula Rehab, said she’s thrilled to have a new 1,200-square-foot space to work with, giving her the opportunity for bigger and better equipment.
Her prior location at 120th Street, with just 500 square feet, felt more like a closet, she said. They were there five years.
“It really was their storage room, but it was what they had,” she said. “We’re really happy to work in north Ocean City, because there’s no place else on the strip” for the kind of work they do.
Their store opened April 1 and offers outpatient physical therapy five days a week, with some occupational therapy.
Rogan said she’s happy with the better visibility, and that this location –secondary to a West Ocean City rehab clinic at Herring Creek Professional Center — puts them much closer to uptown clientele.
At Trible’s, the only dedicated appliance parts store in the resort, sales representative Bill Curtis said business is good.
“Times are tough, and that’s good for this store,” he said, “because people are fixing their appliances instead of getting new ones. All the repairmen, they’re doing well because of the economy, and they’re coming to us for their parts.”
Trible’s expanded from 5,100 square feet to 7,650 square feet, taking over a storefront formerly occupied by a restaurant called My Girl’s Grill. They’ve been in their new space about three weeks, and still have boxes scattered everywhere from the move. “We were lucky we didn’t have to go far,” Curtis said.
Branch manager Jerry Davison said his store has been in Ocean City for 15 years, and is one of 15 mid-Atlantic locations for the Baltimore-based family business.
Another store coming soon, according to Custer, is Bodacious Buckets. Run by a husband and wife team, they’ll offer old-fashioned frozen custard and other frozen desserts served in beach-themed buckets.
Custer said rents are down across the board from where they were even five years ago, and that’s a big factor in making any deal.
“In order to get both parties to make it, the numbers have to make sense relative to the volume. It has to make economic sense for the tenant and the landlord. Nobody’s giving away the space,” he said.
Bradley Gillis, a commercial real estate broker with Sperry Van Ness, said the tenant bookings signaled a positive note among area commercial rentals, and show that there is movement in the market.
“Market prices that people saw three to five years ago were almost absurd; it was inflated,” he said. “The market was moving so quickly, in order to get a deal, you really had to beat the market. But now, it’s — whaddya want? You want some build out? Let’s do it. You want reduced rent? Let’s make a deal. Realistic owners are getting realistic deals done.”
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Other tenants at Montego Bay Shopping Center include restaurant Tequila Mockingbird, Hair We R salon, a florist, grocery store, hardware store, and Mediterranean restaurant Café Mirage. Duffy’s Tavern and Higgins Crab House North anchor the ends. A bank and gas station also are on site.
This article originally appeared in the Delmarva Now.
Published on: April, 2010.
By Brian Shane