Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Can It Work Here?: Part Deux

The Portland Press Herald has a story this morning in which the proposed Stroudwater Place is considered to be analogous to Maine Mall in that both projects occupy or will occupy former farm land, both have or will have easy access off the Maine Turnpike, and both have or will have relied on long-term construction and expansion.

Those sounds you hear are the violent shudders of the developers of the Stroudwater Place, who've strenuosly played down any similarities or likeness to the Maine Mall.

Besides waxing elegantly about the Maine Mall parellels, though, Tux Turkel tries to tackle the BIG question nipping at the heels of this proposal: Can the southern Maine market support yet another retail project, especially one of this scale? The various experts quoted in the piece (Mark Malone of Malone Commercial Brokers, Tony Armstrong of Properties Northeast, and Charles Craig of NAI The Dunham Group) are all relatively bullish about Stroudwater Place's prospects, if only because the project probably won't be started for a couple years. Or, as Malone put it: "If you go duck hunting, you don't shoot a duck where it was, you shoot where it's going." (If you too are scratching your head and wondering what he meant, I think he intended to say "you don't shoot it where it is, you shoot where it's going." Personally, I think he should've just played it safe by hauling out one of former Governor Angus King's favorite quotes of the "great philosopher" Wayne Gretzky about how great players skate to where the puck is going to be, instead of where it is. At least we Mainers have heard that one only a couple hundred times. But I digress).

Anyway, here are the bulleted (they must be important!) ingredients for success, courtesy of Mr. Tux Turkel (sorry, I just wanted to write his name once again, so you're forced to read it again and perhaps say it aloud)

  • Favorable zoning changes (In other words, favorable entertainment value for those of us watching the public meetings those will require.)
  • Tenant mix and a healthy, attractive anchor store (Can't be something lame and tired like Wal-Mart. They're so yesterday.)
  • Site access (Sure, folks from Biddeford and Gray can just hop on the 'pike, but it must be accessible to the folks from Cape Elizabeth)

Tux Turkel.

- John C.L. Morgan

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