The Brassfield Shopping Center has been getting a makeover for more than three years. Soon, the campus’s 10-screen theater and a Lowe’s Home Improvement outlet model that is new to North Carolina will open again.
A Trek bike shop and an Indigo art studio are also on their way. The third Triad location of the California-based The Habit Burger business is also on its way.
Golden Ticket Cinemas Inc., which was formed in 2016 and is based in Durham, wants to reopen the 27,000-square-foot theater in the center by early summer.
Lowe’s is now in the 36,000-square-foot store space that used to belong to SteinMart at the shopping center on Battleground Avenue.
Steen Spove, a partner with Deep River Partners, the owner and developer of the shopping center, said that the center is almost 90% full after being able to get the five original tenants and other people who have offered letters of intent.
This includes people in Greensboro and Guilford County feeling safer going out in public during this phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. The shopping center also benefits from more traffic since the Urban Loop opened recently.
Spove said that having Trader Joe’s as a central store that is now easier to get to is also a big plus.
“We’ve been working on a redevelopment for about 10 years,” Spove said. “Getting Trader Joe’s (which opens in October 2019) as a catalyst was obviously key to our efforts and sparked a lot more interest from other groups.”
In 2014, it was said that Trader Joe’s had voiced interest in opening in a planned retail development on Hobbs Road at West Friendly Avenue near Friendly Center. This was a hint at a Greensboro store.
But Trader Joe’s reportedly lost interest in the spot after people who lived nearby spoke out against the planned development.
It took another five years for the timing to work out so that Trader Joe’s would be interested in and then commit to opening a store in Brassfield.
While Trader Joe’s was getting a lot of attention, the COVID-19 outbreak was at its worst in the middle of March 2020.
Spove said, “COVID pretty much stopped everything for two years.” “That was a tough spot. During that time, we lost SteinMart and Cinemark.
The opening of the Greensboro Urban Loop was also a big deal. “It was necessary to get Trader Joe’s because they look at their stores from a regional point of view, and the shopping center is now very easy to get to.”
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Lowe’s shop idea
The first Lowe’s Outlet opened in California in 2019. It sells cheap Lowe’s-branded items, mostly scratch-and-dent appliances and items that aren’t in season.
Lowe’s only has about 10 of these kinds of shops across the country. The stores aren’t listed separately on Lowe’s website.
The outlet shop in Westchester, Florida, says that Lowe’s scratch-and-dent items include dryers, freezers, grills, microwaves, patio furniture, refrigerators, stoves, and washers.
It looks like the price cuts are between 25% and 70% off the original selling price. The website says that Lowe’s Outlet things can only be bought in stores and not online.
Maddie Gardner, who works for Lowe’s in corporate communications, wouldn’t give specifics about the Brassfield shop.
“We can’t wait to tell you more about our upcoming projects,” Gardner said.
Spove said that a real estate agent for the home-improvement chain Lowe’s called Deep River about the Lowe’s outlet store.
He said, “At that time, we had not heard of that idea.” That turned out to be a chance for growth because of COVID because supply lines made it hard to get products.
“Lowe’s thought, “Why not open our own stores?” Now they have nine, and this will be the first one in North Carolina.
The Golden Ticket
In April 2020, Cinemark closed its Brassfield theater as part of a plan to close seven locations in North Carolina for good, according to Spove. Since then, Deep River has been targeting Golden Ticket.Back in March 2022, negotiations really got going. At that time, Deep River was thinking about other uses for the land, like office or hospital space, or “tearing it down to do something else with outparcels,” Spove said.
“The best and highest use of the land was still as a theater,” Spove said.
The Brassfield theater will be Golden Ticket’s 19th theater in 12 states and its third in North Carolina. The company already has two theaters in Lenoir and Little Washington.
For small to medium-sized markets, the company said its main goal is to bring “new amenities to hometown America that you would usually only find in larger markets.”
“Clearly, it’s been a tough couple of years for our industry,” said John Bloemeke, president of Golden Ticket, in a statement. “But the future looks bright for movie theaters.”
“We’re glad that going to the movies will continue to be a tradition in this great building for many years to come.”
The marketing officer for the company, Joe Horton, said that the chain will show not only Hollywood hits but also independent films and sometimes old classics “so that younger moviegoers can experience them in a theater setting rather than on their TV screen.”
Bloemeke said that the Brassfield theater will have high-end warm seats, better sound and picture quality, and more food and drinks.
According to Bloemeke, the theater will look nothing like what you remember it being like. “We’re excited to tell you about a lot of other amenities in the coming months.”
“We’re sure that our prices will be very competitive, and we have some popular programs that will make a lot of people want to come back.”
The restaurant Habit
Spove said that Habit real estate officials called out to Deep River as part of a plan for the California chain, which already has stores in Burlington and Clemmons, to open more stores across the country.
“They are looking for as many places as possible and asked us if they could use the old Chick-fil-A site,” he said.
Spove said that Chick-fil-A moved to a bigger location across the street because the Brassfield site was too small to handle the number of customers and traffic.
“Many people were interested in the site, and Habit was quick to make a deal because they like to move quickly on new and remodeled shopping centers,” Spove said. “That’s why they went to Clemmons and Burlington after Publix.”
“These guys really want to be on Battleground, Stratford Road, or Hanes Mall Boulevard, but there isn’t much room for them there.”
Some general thoughts
Spove said that the Brassfield makeover is another sign that shopping in person “certainly is not dead” in Greensboro and the Triad.
Gold’s Gym is one of the current tenants. Their room is 55,000 square feet and is the biggest. FedEx, Piedmont Advantage Credit Union, and Original Mattress Factory are some of the other businesses. Biscuitville is on a separate parcel.
Even though Amazon is a big player in this market, Spove said, “there will always be a need for brick-and-mortar retail.”
Spove used the Trek bike shop as an example, especially since the 7,950-square-foot store is close to parks and a greenway.
Newly opened in 1,980 square feet are Crumble Cookies and XO Nail Lounge.
Spove said, “We’ve had some tenants, small business owners, who stuck with it through COVID and are now seeing a comeback.”
Even so, Spove said that the “best located centers” will decide who wins and loses. This is one reason why they got involved with Brassfield so early.
“It has a long history and is in a great spot.” The loop makes it even easier to get to and more appealing.