Townfair Center | Screenshot from Phillip Edison and Co. website

Another vacant big-box store locally may follow a national redevelopment trend, according to a preliminary application submitted to Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services.

The Cincinnati-based real estate investment firm Phillips Edison and Co. wants to rezone a former Walmart Supercenter in Townfair Center from C-1 to C-2 to allow for an entertainment tenant, such as a trampoline park or other indoor fun park. The plans, which are in the earliest stage of the formal rezoning process, show a proposed 108,020-square-foot indoor athletic facility and a proposed 20,000-square-foot restaurant.

Insider reached out to Phillips Edison for comment, but a representative for the company said they had no additional details to provide at this time.

The Townfair Center is located at the intersection of Hurstbourne and Bunsen parkways and includes tenants Michaels, Staples, Tuesday Morning, Petco and others. It was last renovated in 1994 and was purchased by the current owner Phillips Edison in 2014 for $24.3 million.

Nationally, major retailers are filing for bankruptcy protection and closing hundreds of U.S. locations, and others are focusing more on internet sales, leaving gigantic holes in malls and shopping centers.

Owners of those retail centers have had to alter their tactics for pulling in tenants (and consumers) by splitting up big-box storefront into smaller spaces with multiple tenants or, in some cases, trying to attract an entertainment tenant that can fill the space, which can be tens of thousands of square feet or more than 100,000 square feet.

In 2017, entertainment-type businesses occupied 18 percent of space at malls, according to a mall owner General Growth Properties, and that number was expected to grow.

Locally, Dave & Buster’s recently opened a 40,000-square-feet restaurant and entertainment complex in Mall St. Matthews filling a second-floor space that was occupied by Forever 21. Part of the former Dillard’s on Dixie Highway is now a 40,000-square-foot Altitude Trampoline Park with a foam pit, dodgeball courts and more.

Topgolf, along with a few restaurants, also is looking to replace a vacant Sears anchor at Oxmoor Center; however, that development is currently involved in two lawsuits.

Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]