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CORPUS CHRISTI, TX-Trademark Property Co. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the 1.22-million-sf Padre Staples Mall in an off-market transaction. The 85%-occupied center is the Fort Worth-based developer’s first step for a $250-million plan to overhaul the mall and expand the retail footprint.

Trademark Property’s president Terry Montesi tells GlobeSt.com that the deal will close in the fall. Padre Staples Mall is situated on close to 60 acres at 5488 S. Padre Island Dr. The anchors are Dillard’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Macy’s Inc.

Also on Trademark Property’s radar screen is possibly acquiring the Staples Center, a retail asset across the street from Padre Staples Mall at South Padre Island and Staples drives and two additional nearby land parcels. The completed assembly will be close to 100 acres.

“There’s a massive retail concentration there. And as we were looking around, we were thinking there was a need for better retail,” Montesi says. “We saw opportunity with this particular real estate to add some uses, upgrade it, and have it be the very best piece of real estate in the trade area.”

Montesi tells GlobeSt.com that right now, Padre Staples’ local owners the Bevly Family and Roy Smith Family are putting $15 million into renovating the 38-year-old mall. Completion is scheduled for the end of the year. The renovation will add a food court to the mall, which also houses Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Forever 21 Inc., Victoria’s Secret Stores Inc., Bath & Body Works Inc., Express LLC, Lane Bryant Inc., Gap Inc., American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Nine West Group Inc.

Trademark plans to do more upgrades once the center is in its portfolio. “Our additional renovation and second-phase expansion will add roughly 50,000 sf of retail space to the project plus a parking garage. That’ll start during spring 2008 and be completed in fall 2009,” Montesi says. The plan is to add a third phase after the extra land is bought.

Trademark’s senior vice president Bill Morris says the options include adding a second level to Padre Staples Mall. “It’s too early right now to decide,” he says. What he does know is they’ve got the prime location in the Corpus Christi trade area. “And, it justifies a hard look at how we can optimize it,” he says. “So, we won’t rush on it.”

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