Spirit Halloween to open in the Fall in Midtown Shopping Center

June 28, 2015

spirithalloweenlogoSpirit Halloween, the largest Halloween store in the nation with over 1100 locations, is planning to open a Wards Corner location this Fall.  This seasonal chain has Halloween & fancy dress costumes for all ages, plus accessories & decor.

Spirit Halloween has signed a seasonal lease for the Fall and will be located in the former fitness center at Joan Dalis’ Midtown Shopping Center.


Joan Dalis signs a lease for Wards Corner property

December 10, 2013

WCmidtownOver a year after completing the new facade at the Midtown Shopping Center, Joan Dalis has finally made a move and signed a lease with a new tenant.

A lease was signed today with Firehouse Subs to enter the Wards Corner market.  They are scheduled to be located to the left of Pearl Vision.

I remain hopeful that Ms. Dalis can move expeditiously in filling the remaining vacancies in the Midtown Shopping Center.

 

Update: The original title to this entry has been edited as being a bit unprofessional.  Apologies to anyone it offended.


Joan Dalis is stalling efforts in Wards Corner

June 12, 2013

Michelle Washington, of the Virginian-Pilot, wrote an article about the wait for improvements to Waterside and Wards Corner.  You can read the entire article here.

Across town from Waterside, another neglected duckling also waits for its transformation.

A $1.2 million renovation of the Midtown Shopping Center in Wards Corner has been completed for months.

Gleaming white stucco hid drab brown corrugation; a bold new sign proudly announces WARDS CORNER to passersby. Fresh white paper went up in the windows, along with new signs that advertise retail space for lease. Across the street, at the former Suburban Park shopping center, walls have begun to rise for a new Harris Teeter grocery store. Its opening is months away, but all but one of the center’s retail spaces has been leased.

Yet the Midtown Plaza, owned by Joan Dalis, continues to harbor empty storefronts behind that fresh exterior. Negotiations with Dollar Tree – a national chain founded in Norfolk that opened its first store in Suburban Park shopping center – to occupy space in Midtown fell through. Dollar Tree plans to move into the former # 1 Chinese Buffet restaurant in the center on the northwest corner, which also contains AutoZone and Pancake House. AJ Gators, which enjoyed a prime Wards Corner location until it was razed for the Harris Teeter, has not been able to find a new site nearby.

Dalis put me off three times when I called to ask why those shops remain empty.

Folks in Wards Corner have begun to despair that, once again, they have been fooled into thinking their neighborhood stood on the verge of a rebound.

Acting Economic Development Director Chuck Rigney said Wards Corner remains the focus of considerable interest. Dalis “feels she can continue to entertain opportunities,” Rigney said. “She’s going to be the one who determines what’s in the best interests of her center.”

It’s hard to imagine that empty space fits that definition, for Dalis or for anyone.

Councilman Andy Protogyrou let his frustration with Dalis show. “She put lipstick on a pig, but if she would actually rent the property she would turn it into a peacock,” he said.

Norfolk waits, no longer patiently, for Wards Corner and Waterside to get the rest of that makeup on and come to the dance.


Midtown Shopping Center progress pictures

July 12, 2012
Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 1 of 4

Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 1 of 4

Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 2 of 4

Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 2 of 4

Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 3 of 4

Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 3 of 4

Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 4 of 4

Midtown Shopping Center, new facade progress pictures, July 11, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia, 4 of 4


Midtown Shopping Center facade rendering

March 18, 2012

Thanks to the Norfolk Department of Development for providing the below rendering of the new facade slated to go up on the Midtown Shopping Center (northeast corner of Wards Corner).  The construction is expected to begin very soon and last approximately 6 months.

New facade slated to be constructed on the Midtown Shopping Center at the northeast corner of Wards Corner.  aka Joan Dalis Martone Property

New facade slated to be constructed on the Midtown Shopping Center at the northeast corner of Wards Corner. aka Joan Dalis Martone Property


Joan Dalis reveals plan for new facade on Midtown Shopping Center

March 16, 2012

A press conference was held today, March 16, 2012 at 1:30PM in the parking lot in front of the old People’s location in the Midtown Shopping Center (northeast corner of Wards Corner).  There, acting Department of Development Director, Chuck Rigney announced Joan Dalis’ plans to spend more than 1 million dollars on a new facade and a redone parking lot, to include new lighting.  Some photos from the press conference are below.  This post will be updated with official images when they are received from the Department of Development.

Chuck Rigney, Acting Director of Development, introducing the Dalis and Martone families in attendance as well as City Council members

Chuck Rigney, Acting Director of Development, introducing the Dalis and Martone families in attendance as well as City Council members

Chuck Rigney, Acting Director of Development, introducing the Dalis and Martone families in attendance as well as City Council members

Joan Dalis (left) and the Dalis and Martone family members

Mayor Paul Fraim celebrating, "Wards Corner is Back!"

Mayor Paul Fraim celebrating, "Wards Corner is Back!"

Midtown Shopping Center - new facade, right side facing Little Creek Road

Midtown Shopping Center - new facade, right side facing Little Creek Road

Midtown Shopping Center - new facade, left side facing Granby Street

Midtown Shopping Center - new facade, left side facing Granby Street

Midtown Shopping Center - new facade, middle view

Midtown Shopping Center - new facade, middle view


Wards Corner’s Midtown Shopping Center described as “dead zone”

June 29, 2008

In today’s business section of a publication for property lawyers Melbourne, an article headlined as “Dead Zones” mentioned 5 retail dead zones. Midtown Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Granby Street and Little Creek Road was one of them. For years, the Greater Wards Corner Partnership has complained about the poor management of this shopping center. Any commercial real estate agent can tell you that the design of this center is obsolete. It is very hard to lease spaces that are extremely long and narrow. Retailers today want frontage for visability to the street or parking lot. We can only hope Ms. Joan Dalis, the owner of the Midtown Shopping Center, will sign on to the vision of the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan for the northeast corner.

MIDTOWN SHOPPING CENTER
2007 assessment $7.1 million
Year built 1946
Total square feet about 75,000 of retail space
Square feet under lease
Not disclosed
Notable Uncle Louie’s Restaurant served as a longtime place of civic activity.
BEFORE Southern Shopping Center was hip in the 1950s, and prior to sometimes trendy Janaf Shopping Center, there was the Midtown Shopping Cent er.
At the intersection of Granby Street and East Little Creek Road, the retail hub was a pivotal place of Norfolk business during the 1940s.
“We used to be the Times Square of the South,” said 78-year-old Nellie Francis, a 33-year Wards Corner resident and manager of the center’s Sarah’s Hallmark, one of a handful of stores left.
The center was eclipse d by other retail centers such as Southern Shopping Center and The Gallery at Military Circle, previously Military Circle Mall.
Midtown Shopping Center has struggled to attract tenants. It has several vacancies in contrast to the more vibrant shopping center across the street.
For 61 years, Midtown Development Corp. has owned the Midtown Shopping Center. The 4.6-acre property was assessed at $7.1 million last year, according to city records.
One of the center’s most popular tenants was Uncle Louie’s Restaurant. Famous for its savory Reuben sandwiches and seasoned egg salads, Uncle Louie’s was the center of civic, leisure and business activities for 21 years.
The eatery gave birth to the community group Wards Corner Partnership and hosted many political shindigs and other parties. The restaurant closed abruptly in 2005.
Three years later, that space and several others in the shopping center remain empty.
Larry Hecht, the center’s retail leasing agent at Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate in Norfolk, said that although the building is older and requires work and a substantial financial investment, he has received calls from prospective tenants.
Hecht said he is waiting for the right people to come along. As a Norfolk native, he’s hoping for a turnaround.
“There’s still a lot of traffic that funnels through Granby Street and Little Creek Road,” Hecht said. “There’s money to be made there.”

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