Mackenzie Pointe Shopping Center in Shrewsbury appears likely to get a $15 million makeover.
The Shrewsbury Board of Aldermen on Tuesday introduced a measure to approve a Community Improvement District (CID) to finance new construction throughout the plaza and the remodeling of its anchor store, a 74,700-square-foot Dierbergs Market.
Brent Beumer, director of real estate for Dierbergs Markets, made a presentation to the board on Tuesday in support of the CID.
The principal new feature in the Mackenzie Pointe makeover will be a 37,000-square-foot Edge Fitness Club, Beumer told the board. The new building will be located in retail space west of Dierbergs, much of which is vacant.
The fitness center will cost an estimated $4.635 million. Such facilities once were shunned by developers of shopping centers, but are now seen as a boon to surrounding retail operations, Beumer said.
“We’re hoping that will drive new tenants to the center,” he said.
Planners have budgeted about $1.366 million to remodel retail space for tenants other than the Dierbergs Market and Edge Fitness. A $355,000 fund will be set up to relocate tenants who will move as a result of the reconstruction.
The time is ripe for a redo for the shopping center, Beumer told the board. Mackenzie Pointe was constructed in 1989, and has fallen behind the times, despite $10 million in capital improvements made over the 30 years since it was built, he said.
In recent months, more than 30,000-square-feet (33 percent) of Mackenzie Pointe’s available “inline” retail space has been vacant, Beumer said. This is a concern as Mackenzie Pointe had been the hub of Shrewsbury commerce for more than 25 years, he added.
The downturn is due not only to the aging of the Mackenzie Pointe facilities, but also due to competition just to the west in the Kenrick area, Beumer said.
“Obviously with Walmart and Aldi in the neighborhood, we have new competitors, which is great. But it forces us to sharpen our game and come up with something that we think is on the cutting edge and maintains our position as the store of choice for our customers,” Beumer said.
More than two-thirds of the project – about $10.3 million – will be funded directly by Dierbergs and its partner Capitol Land Co., Beumer said. This includes the remodeling of Dierbergs ($3.75 million), construction of the Edge center and remodeling for additional tenants.
The Dierbergs store will get a significant facelift, mostly on the interior, Beumer said.
“We’re really redoing the front of the store,” moving the customer service and floral department toward the front, for better customer convenience and ambience. New casing and LED lighting will be introduced to enhance the visual appeal of products on display, he said.
The CID would be funded by a 1 percent sales tax charged by retailers lying within the district boundary. This includes every operation at Mackenzie Pointe, including those in outlying buildings, except the post office, Beumer said.
The CID funds will be used to fund $4.811 million in projects, according to the figures given by Beumer.
These will include a resurfacing and general upgrading of the plaza parking lot ($2.6 million), LED lighting throughout the parking lot ($359,000), new sidewalks ($260,000), landscaping and irrigation ($300,000), electric car-charging stations ($75,000), general contracting and professional fees ($943,000). A $323,000 contingency fund also will be set up.
The district will borrow $4.8 million in initial operating funds. The district will repay the money from tax receipts over a period of about 26 years, according to Beumer’s estimate. The plaza will have a conservatively estimated annual income of about $43 million, he said.
The district will be governed by a six-member board consisting of two representatives each of Dierbergs and Capitol Land Co., and two from the city of Shrewsbury.
The board unanimously approved the CID authorization bill on first reading. The final vote is scheduled for the board’s April 22 meeting.