Heritage Mall has announced that Hobby Lobby, a major arts and crafts retail outlet, will move into the former Gottschalks space sometime in early 2014.
The announcement was made by Fred Sands, chairman of Vintage Real Estate, which purchased the mall in December 2012. Hobby Lobby signed the lease with Vintage on Monday.
The Heritage Mall store will be the first for Hobby Lobby in Oregon. The company, based in Oklahoma City, Okla., was founded in 1972. The company’s Oklahoma complex includes office, distribution and manufacturing where it produces products that include candles, scented products, art canvas and picture frames.
The company has 531 stores in 44 states. A large-format store, each outlet averages 55,000 square feet to display its more than 65,000 crafting and home decor products.
The store will take over the Gottschalks space that has been vacant since 2009 and also the current space for Old Navy, a total of 61,000-square-feet.
Old Navy will move into the interior mall, although Heritage General Manager Betsy Penson said a signed lease still must complete the deal.
“Hobby Lobby is a quality retailer and a perfect addition for the mall,” Sands said in making the announcement.
Penson, who in March said Vintage hoped to have the site filled within a year, said in a released statement that bringing Hobby Lobby to the mall is a major step in renovation and repositioning plans. She said it was important to fill the spot quickly.
“This is huge, especially since it’s the first store of theirs in Oregon,” Penson said.
She added that Old Navy would likely fill several empty spaces near Target.
“We think that will create a lot of traffic for both stores since Old Navy would have its own entrance there,” she said.
Penson added that signing Hobby Lobby has increased interest from current mall occupants and several are thinking of expanding their stores. Vintage representatives are seeking to add additional businesses.
“This is just the beginning of our program to retenant this great mall with top national brands and unique boutiques,” said Roger Burghdorf, executive vice president of leasing for VIntage. “We are in discussions with numerous retailers and restaurants.”
Penson said that although she doesn’t know how many people Hobby Lobby typically employs, it does have a starting rate of $9.50 an hour for part-time employees and $14 an hour for full time.
“They are committed to offering a living wage for skilled workers,” she said. “This is really what we were hoping for and we’re very excited that it will lead to much more.”
Penson said renovation of the space for Hobby Lobby will begin once Old Navy is moved.
The changes will put the mall at 90 percent occupancy. Heritage has more than 50 stores, including retailers, boutiques and restaurants, and anchor stores Target, Sears, Ross Dress for Less and Old Navy.
Sands formed Vintage Capital Group, headquartered in Los Angeles, in 2001. The company owns and manages a variety of retail centers, including regional malls, across the country.