Demolition opens door for new shopping center

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 12, 2005

Demolition crews began razing the former Pruden Packing Co. on Monday, paving the way for a new shopping center slated to open in March 2006.

Construction on the Suffolk Specialty Shops, a 15,200-square-foot shopping center on seven acres at 1201 N. Main St., will begin as soon as the demolition is complete, said Bradford Brown, spokesman for Robert Brown & Associates, the Norfolk-based family-owned development company.

Between eight and 10 specialty retail shops and eateries will be opening in the shopping center, he said.

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The company has gotten commitments from several tenants, Brown said. But of the vendors who have signed leases, just one, Alltel Wireless, was ready to be named.

Brown has talked to several restaurants, including sandwich shops and a coffeehouse, about space.

&uot;We have a lot of deals that are in the works now,&uot; Brown said. &uot;I expect a lot of leases will be finalized by the end of the year, once construction actually gets started.&uot;

The company is hoping to woo a couple of locally-owned businesses into the development, he said.

&uot;We want a good mix of national retailers, restaurants and local tenants,&uot; he said. &uot;They (local tenants) give us more connection with the community and add character to the development.&uot;

Brown & Associates owns retail property throughout Hampton Roads, including York County, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Hampton.

Although the downtown Suffolk project will be the company’s first investment in this city, Brown said he doesn’t expect it will be the last.

&uot;We are not tied to any specific areas,&uot; he said. &uot;We were looking for a good opportunity…and this seemed to be the right time and right place for a project like this.

&uot;We think it will be good for the entire community.&uot;