Editor’s note: “Commercial Confidential” is a Mecklenburg Times profile of a commercial property in the Charlotte area.
When The Shopping Center Group took over leasing duties at Carolina Commons, which is about five miles into South Carolina, Darrell Palasciano knew the company needed to take it slow.
The neighborhood shopping center, anchored by Harris Teeter, was built a few years ago to service the residents of Sun City Carolina Lakes, a massive active-adult community, and other residents of Lancaster County, said Palasciano, a broker in the Charlotte office of The Shopping Center Group.
“The first thing we do when we come into a market is step back and really analyze the market, even if we think we know it,” Palasciano said. “We can drill down and understand the specifics of the property and how that plays into the market.”
When studying the market south of the border, Palasciano said, he found that there were really two types of customer The Shopping Center Group had to attract to Carolina Commons.
The first type comes from the 55-and-up crowd that lives in Sun City, which is less than a mile from the shopping center and eventually will have about 3,200 homes.
“These are the people who drive up to Ballantyne to go to Target or Ulta,” he said. “They have money coming in too, so they have some disposable income to spend.”
Such customers want to be able to drive their golf carts from the Sun City community and get to Harris Teeter and the other stores and restaurants without having to get on the highway, Palasciano said. And Carolina Commons has actually made that possible – the Harris Teeter has a number of golf cart parking spaces in front of the store.
Palasciano also said those customers, since they’re retired, want a restaurant in which they can eat all three meals.
“That’s our No. 1, laser focus right now,” he said, “finding a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
But, in trying to appeal to the active-adult crowd from the community next door, The Shopping Center Group can’t ignore the other type of customer.
Palasciano said a generations-old community exists in Indian Land that has, for years, been forced to the city of Lancaster to grocery shop. Now that Carolina Commons is in town, he said, the focus has to be on keeping those customers south of the state line.
“One thing we learned is that while Sun City is a key community down there, we’re also pulling people from the surrounding area,” he said. “They haven’t had a neighborhood grocery store before, so we have to pay attention to that.”
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Center name: Carolina Commons
Address: 6237 Carolina Commons Drive, Indian Land, S.C.
Square feet: 76,805
Year built: 2009 or 2010, according to Palasciano
Developer: Charlotte-based RED Partners
Owner: RED Partners
Leasing company: The Shopping Center Group
Lease rates: $26 per square foot
Vacancy rate: roughly 2 percentVacancy rate: roughly 2 percent
Major tenants and square feet occupied: Harris Teeter (53,365); Espositos (2,886); Spring Wellness (2,373)
Did you know? A Publix grocery store opened in Indian Land last year, adding competition to the small grocery market in the city.