(Editor’s note: This post was updated at 11:45 on August 11. Due to a typo, the post misstated the square footage for the former Circuit City space at Shelbyville Road Plaza.)
Look for Trader Joe’s to have its first Louisville location open by October.
And yes, we meant to type “their first Louisville store.”
Insiders are telling Insider Louisville the Monrovia, Calif.-based chain of specialty grocery stores – a subsidiary of über-secretive Germany-based, privately held supermarket giant Aldi Nord – is looking at a second location in the market, with The Summit Louisville in far eastern Jefferson County a possibility.
But first things first.
Contractors working on the tenant finish at Shelbyville Road Plaza, 4600 Shelbyville Rd., are telling Insider Louisville that Trader Joe’s execs have the project in the rush mode.
“They’re pushing it … almost around the clock to get open by October, and they have the money to make it happen,” said one.
A building permit posted at the main entrance lists the value of the work at $500,000, a figure one contractor at the site described as “way low!”
Alison Mochizuki, Trader Joe’s spokeswoman, sent Insider Louisville an e-mail response to a query, stating the company has nothing new to report in Louisville.
As of mid-week, demolition work was complete and what will be a supermarket was still essentially an open interior shell.
However, crews had poured 15,000 square feet of new concrete, the first step to putting a floor under new shelves and coolers, sources said. A substantial amount of aluminum framing was in place.
What will be Trader Joe’s had housed The Craftsman Collection furniture store, Massage Envy and Kiddie Kastle furniture store.
Because of economy of scale and distribution costs, most retail chains don’t enter markets with just one store. That’s generally true of Trader Joes’s, though not always.
The grocer has two locations in Indianapolis, but only one store in Des Moines, which is only slightly smaller.
Over the years, sources have told us repeatedly about an off-again, on-again discussion between Trader Joe’s and The Summit Louisville, which is the enviable position of being in the center of Louisville’s wealthy Ky 22/Brownsboro Road corridor. That would put the specialty grocer in a high-end festival-style shopping center near Norton Commons, Kentucky Country Day School and the Norton Healthcare facilities at Old Brownsboro Crossings.
Summit officials have never commented.
Trader Joe’s arrives a pivotal time for the 55- year-old, 34-acre Shelbyville Road Plaza, in the high-traffic Shelbyville Road retail corridor. The retailer is wildly popular from coast to coast, with hundreds of people creating “Trader Joe’s needs to come here” website and Facebook pages.
So, on the plus side, landing a Trader Joe’s is a huge coup, as is a new Nike Factory Store scheduled to open in October.
The center also has a new Quest Outdoors location and a Feeder’s Supply store, two strong Louisville-based retailers.
On the minus side … where to begin?
Hagan Properties, which owns Shelbyville Road Plaza, has a lot of problems unrelated to the center. PNC Bank has started foreclosure on two large east-end properties, claiming Hagan Properties owes $20 million.
In turn, Hagan Properties is suing PBI Bank, claiming fraud in a case related to Signature Point, a failed $26 million condo and apartment development east of Middletown off Shelbyville Road.
At Shelbyville Road Plaza, Borders Books, multiple retailer bankruptcies and acquisitions since 2007 have taken their toll.
Borders Books, a major tenant on the east side, took Chapter 7 liquidation in July, and the liquidators who bought the inventory are in the final weeks of clearance, according to staff working on Wednesday. Borders’ demise leaves more than 10,000 square feet vacant at the center.
A Halloween temporary store is in what was a 35,000-square-foot Circuit City store, and a former Wild Oats store sits vacant, though Whole Foods, which acquired Wild Oats in 2007, still owns the lease.
Still, it appears the shopping center complex will be about 80-percent leased by the time Trader Joe’s opens, which is not bad at all in 2011.