'Convenience' Goal For Concord Mall Change

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A site plan for the project is still being developed. A site plan for the project is still being developed.

The chief executive officer of an Indianapolis-based commercial brokerage firm says redevelopment of Concord Mall in Elkhart is a way for property owners to secure their investment for the next 20 years. Keith Stark, chief executive officer of Consortium Commercial Real Estate, says the $50 million Concord Towne Center project will create a better shopping experience.

ConsortiumCRE is serving as a consultant, advisor and leasing representative on the project. Stark says switching from a traditional enclosed mall to an open-air concept will better reflect the current trends in retail. He says this concept, similar to the Glendale Town Center in Indianapolis, will bring an extra level of convenience for the consumer.

"Even in a cold environment, the consumer can control the temperature in their car all the way up to the point that they walk in the door instead of having to walk in an entrance and then have to walk through the mall," says Stark. "That takes time and people just don't have spare time anymore."

Stark adds that enclosed malls are very costly to operate because of heating, cooling and maintenance. He says the property is run more efficiently in an open-air center, despite extra costs such as plowing snow during the winter.

Stark says Concord Mall has a great base of existing tenants off which the property owners can build and the Elkhart/Goshen market is very strong. He says the project will eliminate a leakage from the community by adding retailers that will provide services that are currently not available in the area.

Developers say the Concord Towne Center will be built in phases and Stark says they are still talking with retailers and a site plan is still very fluid at this point. He says one a site plan is nailed down, it would take about 30 to 36 months to complete. Stark says the project is expected to be completed by 2020.

Stark says the property owners realized they were sitting on a big opportunity.
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