LAKEWOOD, WA-MBK Northwest has acquired the region’s second-largest enclosed mall and plans to partially demolish the underperforming, 1.2-million-sf structure and convert it into a smaller, outdoor mall with extensive food and entertainment options. The Portland, OR-based vision of Irvine, CA-based MBK Real Estate Ltd. isn’t breaking down the numbers yet, but says the whole project, including site acquisition, will run $70 million.

MBK is thinking of the 107-acre property as four separate zones, the first of which is the civic zone, home to the Lakewood’s first City Hall building. The second zone is a neighborhood convenience center anchored by a new Safeway Marketplace. The third is a destination shopping center and the fourth zone is a dining and entertainment complex that will complement an existing 12-screen Cineplex Odeon.

“We passed on this opportunity several years ago, however once we recognized that the city was serious in its commitment to this site, we took another look and eventually took our interest to the next level,” says Mason Frank, president of MBK Northwest Ltd. “The city sparked the redevelopment and we took it from there. The primary goal for this one hundred acre project is to become the Towne Center of Lakewood.”

The existing enclosed mall structure was originally built in 1989. The loss of key tenants shortly after opening, combined with fast growing competition, is said to have kept the mall from becoming a vibrant place.

Building on existing tenants Target (106,000 sf), Barnes & Noble (23,307 sf), Loews Cineplex(48,229 sf), Gottschalks (119,256 sf), Office Depot (31,770 sf) and Burlington Coat Factory(68,929 sf), leases are being negotiated with the largest (62,800 sf ) Safeway Marketplace in Pierce County, Old Navy, Bed, Bath & Beyond(30,520 sf), Michael’s (24,046 sf), Ross Dress for Less (30,375 sf), GI Joe’s (45,005 sf), 24-Hour Fitness (21,423 sf), Firestone Tire (10,071 sf), Hong Kong Buffet (5,366 sf) and Old Country Buffet (9,281 sf).

MBK isn’t new to such mall makeovers. It bought two strip shopping centers south of Southcenter Mall in Tukwilla several years ago and demolished and redeveloped one into Parkway Supercenter and sold it off in pieces. Before that, the firm did a similar remake of Jantzen Beach SuperCenter in Portland.

“We will come right out of the gate with the kind of retailers that consumers in the area have been leaving the market to find,” says MBK senior vice president David Moore of the Lakewood project. “These new retailers will keep consumer dollars within Lakewood and give the rest of the South Puget Sound region a reason to shop here.”

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