Fort Mill strip mall owner will listen to ‘credible ideas’ for empty storefronts

Owner seeks tenant to replace Dollar General

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJanuary 15, 2013 

— An eventual move of Family Dollar would change the landscape, but not the strategy of the former Food Lion shopping center where it’s located now.

As it has for years with the central space, owner Tull Development Co. will listen to credible ideas for what will otherwise become the latest empty storefront in the shopping center between Tom Hall Street and Doby’s Bridge Road.

Last week, the Fort Mill Planning Commission met and reviewed a plan for a new Family Dollar near the current site but not within the same development, at Tom Hall and Doby’s Bridge. The group didn’t endorse the plan but said issues with the proposed new building weren’t something that couldn’t be resolved.

“It was, to the planning commission, minor,” said Commissioner John Garver.

Another commission meeting was set for Tuesday to review expected changes from the retailer. At issue were trimming and HVAC concerns, but the group had “no major problems” with the building, Garver said.

“They were more cosmetic,” he said of the concerns.

Chris Tull said his development company offered Family Dollar a different, larger space within its storefront.

“We tried to get them to stay,” he said.

Tull said the company is looking toward freestanding stores and wasn’t interested. Tull doesn’t expect a move in the near-term.

“They’ve got another year on their lease with us,” he said. “We’re looking hard to find good tenants. That’s just hard to do in this economy.”

So far, most of the interest in the shopping center, which has other vacancies once filled by Food Lion and a drugstore, has come from startup churches or fitness centers. Tull said a new tenant would need good credit, and would have to present a plan making it financially feasible for the upfit needed.

Otherwise, his group is open to suggestions.

“We would even consider having somebody that wanted to have put offices in there, something like that,” Tull said.

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