Local developer Michael A. Pollack — who dominates East Valley retail corridors by buying up old and mostly empty shopping centers, fixing them and filling them — has just picked up a couple more properties.
Pollack recently purchased a block of shops at Guadalupe Plaza on the southwest corner of Alma School and Guadalupe roads. The Mesa-based businessman has been buying pieces of that shopping center for the last 10 years. He now owns everything but the Safeway store. The new property just needs some "cosmetics," he said.
Pollack also purchased Marcos De Niza Plaza on the southwest corner of Guadalupe and Rural roads in Tempe for $3.3 million. He said the languishing center, which is three-quarters empty, will require a complete revamp, including cutting up the vacant supermarket space into three smaller stores. "When I’m done it will look brand, spanking new," he said.
If anybody can work a Cinderella on the old center it’s Pollack. Among the 60-plus shopping centers he owns in the local market — with as much shop and restaurant space as three Fiesta Mallsized regional shopping centers — is Leisure World Plaza at Main and 64th streets in Mesa.
When Pollack bought the Mesa property in May it was 80 percent vacant. "Now it’s 98 percent leased," Pollack said.
• The latest store-within-astore: Macy’s parent Federated Department Stores is letting eyeglasses seller LensCrafters set up "optical boutiques" in a handful of its upscale sites around the country. The Macy’s at Scottsdale Fashion Square gets one, scheduled to debut Friday. LensCrafters plans to stock up on pricey frames with famous names such as Prada, Versace, Brooks Brothers and Kenneth Cole for the well-heeled shoppers.
• Speaking of new ways for big spenders to cash out, here are some new hot spots that just opened or are about to:
Garage — with funky clothes and accessories for kids — has parked in a prime spot at the Scottsdale Borgata, on Scottsdale Road and Rose Lane.
At Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback Road, Lanciani Travel Jewelry, "for the woman who travels and prefers to keep her precious gems at home," is open. BeDazzled Gallery, selling hand-blown glass art, plans to debut before Thanksgiving.
Sarku Japan, a Japanesestyle eatery, is scheduled to open its first Valley location within a week at Fiesta Mall in Mesa.
Run AZ, a running specialty store that offers shoes, clothes and advice from experienced runners turned shop owners, is at 4740 E. Warner Road in Phoenix’s Ahwatukee Foothills.
• Arizona Subway Development Co., which provides franchise support for the state’s 280 Subway sandwich shops, is building a new headquarters at 8674 E. San Alberto in Scottsdale for its staff of 20. The current offices are in downtown Scottsdale. Area development agent Richard Schibler, who heads up the operation, opened Arizona’s first Subway shop in 1983 at 48th Street and Southern Avenue in Tempe.
• Scottsdale-based Wireless Retail, which claims to be the country’s largest retail sales provider for service-based consumer electronic products, added satellite radio to its product and services offering.
Wireless retail is now selling SIRIUS Satellite Radio at its more than 900 storewithin-a-store locations in major retail chains across the country. That includes Wal-Marts and Sam’s Clubs throughout the East Valley. Just this week Inc. Magazine, the publication for the tech set, ranked Wireless Retail 65th on its annual list of "America’s 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies."
If you have a new shop to tell us about or you see activity at a retail location and are wondering what’s happening, let us know.