No Signed Tenants, No Restart Date for Elk Grove Promenade Admits Developers Representative

Construction stopped  over three years ago on The Promenade Following a presentation to a group of Chinese Executive MBA students visitin...

Construction stopped  over three years ago on The Promenade
Following a presentation to a group of Chinese Executive MBA students visiting Elk Grove, a representative for the current developer of the half-constructed Elk Grove Promenade Mall conceded that there no signed tenants and no date for construction to resume on the outdoor mall on the city's south side.

Speaking before a group of Executive MBA students from China's Yunnan University, Howard Hughes Corporation's (HHC) Andrew Clark gave a brief presentation to the group on general plans for the mall that has sat half constructed for over three years. Clark, who said he was from HHC's Los Angeles office, explained to the executives that HHC took ownership of the mall following General Growth Property's (GGP) emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2010.

GGP, the original developer of the Elk Grove Promenade, filed the largest real estate bankruptcy following the 2008 credit collapse. Construction on the mall halted in late July 2008 just as the credit crisis was developing.

Following his slick DVD-animated presentation of how the developers envision the mall someday, Clark fielded many questions through an interpreter. Just prior to Clark's presentation, the group went on a bus tour of the city that included the Elk Grove Promenade.

In Clark's presentation, he said that the mall would have anchor tenants including an unnamed 16 screen cinema operator, J.C. Penney's, Target and Macy's. Clark also said there would be several smaller tenants and up to six restaurants.

"It is pretty impressive," Clark said. "This is one of our most exciting projects."

For executives coming from a country with a proliferation of mega-malls and breakneck construction, the site of a half-abandoned mall was puzzling based on the questions and comments voiced through two different interpreters.

During a spirited question and answer session marked by several inquiries about proprietary information including estimates on rents, construction cost and overall feasibility of the project, Clark became visibly uncomfortable. "The project is so in flux," Clark said as he side-stepped specific questions.

One question of great curiosity to the executives voiced through the interpreters was why nothing has happened on the project in several years. At one point one of the interpreters voiced a suggestion that perhaps they should listen to the "Chinese view" on the project.

Clark, who was scheduled to speak for an hour, cut the session short after 40 minutes and hastily left the city council chamber where the meeting was held.

Outside the meeting, when Clark was asked if there were any major signed tenants he said "Nobody is signed." When asked if there was a date to restart construction of the mall he said "We are working on that."

As Clark and an unnamed associate quickly exited city hall, the associate grumbled "we were told the press would not be here."

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Josie said...

Very interesting. Perhaps we could throw some "incentive" money their (HHC) way.

McBarger said...

It would appear that somebody "lost face."

Sarah Johnson said...

The description of HHC's presentation sounds like nothing more than the original Power Point by General Growth, including the tenants, JC Penney, Target, and Macy's. Their departing remarks tell the real story - No tenants signed and they told us no press would be here. Inspires confidence, doesn't it?

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