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Real Estate - Commercial

Flurry Of Activity In Commercial Real Estate Market

By Jamaal O'Neal, posted Dec 8, 2011

An increase in new commercial development and leasing activity throughout greater Wilmington could spell a more optimistic first quarter of 2012.

Port City Mattress is expanding into the University Centre Shopping Plaza on College Road.

The firm — which sells American-manufactured mattresses — will ink a lease agreement Monday for 1,200-square feet of space at the shopping center.

Nicholas Silivanch, director of retail leasing and acquisition for Coldwell Banker Commercial Sun Coast Partners, brokered the three-year lease agreement.

Adam Withey, managing partner of Port City Mattress, said his firm will close its current Carolina Beach Road location before opening its new store in University Centre.

He said the new store is slated to open by February 1.

“The University Centre location is actually smaller than our location on Carolina Beach Road,” Withey said. “But the rental rates are good, and when you look at the traffic counts on College Road, and the fact that we are three spaces down from Sam’s Club, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

Withey said he and his business managing business partner, Ryan Seysert, are also looking to double their Porter’s Neck showroom location from 2,000 square-feet, to 4,000 square-feet in the coming months.

“We want our Porter’s Neck location to be our flagship store,” Withey said. “We’re a small company and this is it when it comes to expansion.”

Southern Exposure Sunrooms — a company specializing in the construction of full-service sunrooms and screened-in porches — also signed a lease last week for 2,400-square feet of space in the University Centre.

Henry “Hank” Adams, with Coldwell Banker Commercial Sun Coast Partners, brokered the lease agreement for the company’s newest space.

This is the third time the company has relocated within Wilmington, having recently sold its former facility at 6821 Market St. Before that, the company was first housed at 6515 Market St.

John Hickey, vice president and co-owner of the company with president and CEO Edward Vogelsong, said Thursday the company is converting two units in the shopping plaza for its new showroom.

He said the showroom would be open for business by the early first quarter of 2012.

Two restaurants are also moving into the Wilmington market.

Monkey Junction residents will soon see an IHOP open on a 1.7-acre lot that was formally a KFC.

Florence, S.C.-based Eagles Landing Restaurant, which owns and operates four South Carolina IHOP locations and a Lumberton location in the coming months, plans to open and operate the facility at 5628 Carolina Beach Road by mid-March.

Jeremy Phillips, commercial broker with Wilmington-based Environments Unlimited Inc., closed the deal with the restaurant firm last week.

The new IHOP would be Wilmington’s second, with an existing location at 5355 Market St. that is operated by another franchisee.

Environments Unlimited Inc. — which specializes in locating sites and constructing fast-food restaurants across the Southeast U.S. — will build the new IHOP.

Jimmy Free, chief financial officer for Eagles Landing Restaurant, said the firm purchased the land from Z.V. Pate Inc. — the parent company of Scottish Food Systems — for $975,000. He said the company plans to hire 120 workers for the new location, and invest more nearly $2 million for training, construction and new equipment at the new site.

“IHOP requires that we start off with 120 people, but as the restaurant gets established, that total will level off to about 70 employees,” Free said.

Plans call for the new location to have an updated look, seating for up to 200 patrons and will be open 24 hours a day.

Free said while the firm is concentrating its efforts on identifying new markets along the coast, it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of another IHOP location in greater Wilmington.

“Wilmington has great traffic counts and it’s a growing area,” Free said. “It’s definitely an area where we could see future expansion.”

Meanwhile, officials with Greensboro-based Battleground Restaurant Group are also expanding into the Port City.

The group is currently constructing a Kickback Jacks restaurant on an out parcel of property it has owned since 1989 at 418 S. College Road in the University Centre Shopping Plaza.

The company — which specializes in traditional American cuisines and drinks — currently operates Kickback Jack restaurants in Raleigh, Greensboro, Fayetteville and Danville, Va.

The Wilmington restaurant would be the company’s fifth location.

Officials plans to open within the first quarter of 2012, according to its website.

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