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DANVILLE, VA-While residents of this Southern Virginia town will find a traditional mall experience in Piedmont Mall, to shop at open-air regional shopping centers like those cropping up across the country they have two choices: drive one hour to Lynchburg or cross the state line an hour in the other direction to Greensboro, NC.

Sitting on the border of North Carolina and Virginia, the town is experiencing a retail void, according to North American Properties. To fill that void, NAP plans to build Coleman MarketPlace here, a 550,00-sf regional community center. According to NAP’s research, there are 56,071 residents with a 2006 average household income of $40,925 within a five-mile radius of the proposed center. In addition, there are 82,036 residents with a 2006 average household income of $43,844 within a 10-mile radius and 109,055 residents with a 2006 average household income of $44,436 within a 15-mile radius. All total, the trade area has 335,703 residents with a 2006 average household income of $45,489.

“Danville is truly a regional hub for Southern Virginia,” explains Tonya Creekmore, vice president of leasing for NAP. “Literally, residents of the market have to drive an hour either to Greensboro [NC] or Lynchburg [VA] for the type of shopping that we’re going to bring to Danville. Coleman MarketPlace will draw from that big of a regional presence.”

And the town is poised to continue to grow. Currently, developers are planning to build 500 new homes for the immediate Danville area over the next couple of years, Creekmore says. “And the city has done an excellent job with job growth as well, adding nearly 3,000 jobs since March 2004,” she adds. “So you’ve got job growth, which results in residential growth, which results in retailers’ interest in the market.”

Coleman MarketPlace will feature eight anchor tenants that are not currently in the Danville market. In fact, Creekmore explains, all the potential anchor tenants and retailers NAP is talking with do not have a market presence. “They’ve been hovering around this market for years,” she says. “Most of the retailers have been waiting for a developer to come and put enough synergy together for them to actually land in Danville.”

For retailers that are not in the market already, the Coleman Marketplace offers a chance to move in and avoid sister-store cannibalization–which leads to relatively high projected sales. “The interest from retailers has been amazing,” Creekmore adds.And that interest helps NAP decide where to build its next retail center. “It’s driven by the retailers and driven by the city reaching out to retailers and to us,” Creekmore explains. ” And then its driven by us listening, going in early on and really doing our research to determine, that yes, this does make sense for retailers and yes, this is a regional hub that is underserved.”

Entering underserved areas is the Cincinnati-based developer’s niche. “We like to go into communities that we feel are underserved and bring a product to them that makes sense and truly serves the communities and our retailers,” she says. “We have a very close relationship with catalyst retailers that we work with and we do our best to canvas markets to find the right market and the right inner section within that market that best meets their needs.”

NAP’s feedback from the community has been favorable as well, she adds. “The community is ecstatic to have this type of product literally in their backyard.”

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