A developer with a track record of converting large commercial spaces into Hispanic-theme indoor flea-style markets and retail venues is launching a new company to continue that work. When a big-box store goes out of business, some local retailers might feel a sense of impending dread, but Arturo Adonay sees opportunity. He is riding a growing trend of putting flea markets and swap meets into commercial real estate that would otherwise remain empty and blighted.
Adonay, a partner in the newly formed Olé Realty Group, has started a business that divides former malls and big-box store locations into markets with booths that start as 10’x10′ spaces and get bigger from there. He places independent vendors and new entrepreneurs into these indoor market spaces, bringing real estate that otherwise would go vacant back to life. “It’s hard for shopping centers these days to come up with retailers who can fill the big spaces,” Adonay says. “We come up with alternatives for them. In some markets, we can get more per square foot by breaking it down into smaller spaces,” he adds.
What Adonay and his partners are doing makes sense from a business perspective. “Small malls start dying once the big box stores that anchor them close,” he says. “We can help them get that space filled.” Olé Realty Group not only converts the large spaces into smaller, more usable units, but it also analyzes the market to find out what the need is for the neighborhood. “As the current economic situation continues, more big stores will be available and looking for creative solutions,” Adonay says.
The company analyzes the area in a 50-mile radius to help attract the right retailers. “We see how businesses are doing,” Adonay says. “We put ads in local papers or use the outlets where retailers are looking for opportunities. We also host an open house for retailers, and work with wholesalers looking for outlets. Basically, we bring together wholesalers and entrepreneurs,” he concludes.
Adonay tells the story of the former Buford-Clairmont Mall, a 1960s-vintage large mall near Atlanta, Ga., with a Burlington Coat Factory and a Marshalls as anchor stores, but many vacant stores inside. “We brought in small retailers who started with 10’x10′ spaces,” he recalls.
The venue was renamed “Plaza Fiesta,” and it was quite a success. “As business built up, some vendors then moved into 5,000 and 10,000 square foot spaces within the mall, which is 100 percent full now,” Adonay explains. Plaza Fiesta has expanded to a location in Fort Mill, S.C., and is planning another expansion in Denver later this year.
However, Adonay is not working on the Denver market. “I’m not involved in that project,” he says. “My next project is the Cricket Traders Market in Commerce, Ga. I’m using the experience that I got working on the Plaza Fiesta projects to turn dying centers into vibrant places.” The Cricket Traders Market is currently scheduled for a summer 2011 opening.
Adonay is hopeful his Olé Realty business will grow with the right amount of promotion. “We feel the market is bouncing back, and business is taking off,” he says. “It’s a great experience to get the opportunity to work at different levels with different retailers.”
For more information, contact:
Olé Realty Group
600 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
Photo credits, with thanks: CharlotteMagazine.com and Plaza Fiesta Carolinas.