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Court At Deptford

Deptford Township, NJ
Hobby Lobby at Court at Deptford

The Challenge

When DLC acquired The Court at Deptford in New Jersey back in 2014, the center had an occupancy rate of only 34 percent. The only anchor tenant at the time of the acquisition was Ross Dress For Less, whose co-tenancy lease was coming to an end. Although the center was located in the epicenter of retail in the market, it didn’t have the diversified retailer mix that attracts today’s shoppers. What was left were the remnants of an Old Circuit City location and a few smaller shops struggling to keep up with the lack of foot traffic at the property.

The declining shopping center needed a major facelift, to both its physical appearance and to its reputation of a center long forgotten. The scope of this extensive multi-million dollar renovation project included a complete façade modernization, new roofing, parking lot improvements, LED lighting work to sidewalk and streetscape enhancements. The construction had to be seamlessly executed without disrupting the everyday shopping experience.

circuit city Hobby Lobby_Deptford

When we first acquired the center we saw a lot of potential to add value and become a major player in the trade area. And I’m happy to say we’ve done just that.

Christopher Ressa, CLS Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

The Solution

Our Leasing team did not hesitate to apply its creative leasing strategy to bring in a diverse mix of both national and local retailers to maximize occupancy while serving the best interests of the community. A huge selling point would be the center’s convenient accessibility, which is about one mile off of the New Jersey Turnpike and only five miles southeast from the heart of Center City Philadelphia. This was a unique opportunity to attract retailers looking to get into one of the largest consumer markets in the US. Currently, the center boasts an occupancy rate of 92% and has a robust mix of retail and service providers including food & beverage tenants and specialty retailers such as Burlington, Hobby Lobby, Ashley Furniture Outlet, Shoe Carnival, Kirkland’s, Kids First Swim School, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, European Wax, Launch Trampoline Park and more. This strategic effort helped revive the center into a popular destination where families can dine, shop and even take a swimming class, all in one location.

Before the redevelopment tenants were not allowed to install larger signage because of local signage regulations. DLC identified the opportunity of using bigger signage as a way to attract more customers and increase store visibility and helped our tenants understand just how this could benefit their businesses. Working with local officials, DLC obtained a variance from Deptford Township to allow the installation of bigger, more visible store signage. In addition, DLC obtained a variance to build a second pylon sign while neighboring centers are allowed only one on their sites.

Throughout the process, DLC made sure to reach out directly to all tenants and communicate what they could expect over the course of the project and set up an operation center onsite to address any questions or concerns. Having a close and regular relationship with all stakeholders including adjacent businesses, neighbors and the Township of Deptford were key in successfully completing the renovation.

Success Story Highlights

  • Created a Renovation Program to Redevelop & Re-Merchandise the Center
  • Sourced a Low Cost Equity & Low Cost Redevelopment Loan
  • Raised Occupancy rate 58% in 2 years; Currently boast an occupancy rate of 92%
  • Signed LOIs & In-Lease Contracts Before Closing

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