Mall owners evict Blaine Community Theater group
In the wake of improved business at Blaine’s International Center, mall owners have evicted the Blaine Community Theater (BCT) group to make room for un-named new tenant.
Phillips Edison & Company, Cincinnati-based owner that purchased the mall last summer, has evicted the popular non-profit group from the storefront location it has occupied for almost three years.
BCT president Mel Finnson acknowledged that their status in the mall was temporary at best. “We were renting on a month-to-month basis ($500 per month rent) so we knew it could come to an end as soon as they found a tenant,” she said, adding that they got the news from property manager Susan Cadell last week.
“This is the third landlord we’ve had,” Finnson said, “in the two-and-a-half years we’ve been here, but we knew that this owner is aggressive about renting his spaces.”
But when Cadell showed up to let the theater group know that it had to leave, Finnson said that she also said after looking around that she “didn’t manage properties that looked like this, meaning not well cared for, and she was going to fix the place up right now.”
Christopher Key, who directed Black Widow, BCT’s last show at the mall, said that a door closing may also be another one opening.
“There are a lot of spaces
in Blaine, and actually that mall site, while convenient,
wasn’t the best
for us. It has a lot of sound-deadening in the ceiling
and walls, and is too big in some ways and too small in
BCT previously used the cafeteria stage at Blaine middle school, and has been told that they may come back there if they need to.
Meanwhile, both the new mall ownership and owners of the Blaine Cost Cutter grocery expressed optimism about the future of the mall and of the grocery business in Blaine.
Ken Addy, chief operating officer for Phillips Edison, said that his company has been pleasantly surprised at the response they’ve had initially to renting spaces in the 127,000-square-foot structure.
Addy said that Phillips Edison purchased the property because it’s their niche.
“Our focus is on redevelopment of grocery store-anchored shopping centers.
Blaine is one of 230 properties we own in 34 states,” he said, adding that they’re in the process of “putting together a package that shows how to redevelop that asset to both better compete in the area and become a better asset to the community.
“There’s been quite a bit of interest that’s been generated; if we don’t have interest for the space we’re going to try to support the community as long as we can.
“But if we have a tenant that wants the space then we try to maximize the value of that, and for that reason we have asked [the BCT] to move on.”