For the second time this month, a vacant former Stein Mart building has caught the attention of a new entrant retailer – this time a Korean grocery store.
Lotte Plaza Market will have its first Richmond area location at 7801 W Broad St.
The Maryland-based grocer occupies 45,000 square feet in a downtown mall that was abandoned by Stein Mart, which closed four of its Richmond-area locations following its 2020 bankruptcy.
The location will be the 17th overall of Lotte Plaza Market. Most locations are in northern Virginia and Maryland.
Requests for comment sent to Lotte Plaza Market have not been responded to at the time of writing. The 46-year-old chain offers Korean and Asian foods, and each of its markets includes an Asian-style food court, according to its website.
Lotte Plaza Market is the first grocery chain to have a presence in the city in recent years, expanding into Richmond in the mid to late 2010s after a spate of competitors such as Publix, Wegmans and Lidl.
Lotte Plaza Market plans to open sometime in 2023.
California-based Capstone Advisors owns the Old Town Shopping Center and was represented in the transaction by Rob Black and Robbie Brownfield of Colliers International. His Colliers colleagues Peter Wick and Harrison Hall removed the tenant, as did Michael Patz from the KLNB’s Baltimore office.
The grocer occupies almost half of the total space of the 91,000-square-foot, 50-year-old mall. Capstone has 21 other shopping centers across the country in its portfolio.
Another local Stein Mart space closed earlier this month when Sierra and Homesense, both owned by TJ Maxx’s parent company, signed to open at the Stein Mart-Shell at the Short Pump Crossing mall.
Capstone COO Jay Mathes said the company has always considered carving out empty big-box shells because it wants to lease them, but that comes with its own set of challenges.
“With large boxes like this, subdivision is often not that easy because the buildings are not only tall, but also deep for many traditional inline tenants. You must replace them. Younger anchor tenants have to be found,” said Mathes.
“From our point of view, the search for young anchor tenants for the center does not have as great an effect as the procurement of groceries. When it’s food or grocery focused, it tends to focus on a lot of customers. ,
Mathes said closing the leases that put a tenant on the market in the first place is often a challenge too, but added that the local and national agents working on the deal often help them get to the finish line.
“(These deals) are never easy. You are a big renter, it takes time and effort. But it’s often worth it,” Mathes said.