Several tenants lined up for new shopping center

The Exponent Telegram
Thursday, May 17, 2012

By       Adam Tobias

BRIDGEPORT – A number of tenants have been secured for a new multimillion-dollar shopping center being constructed in Charles Pointe, and several others have signed letters of intent, according to sources involved with the project.

Robert E. Campbell, a principal owner of Premier Commercial Real Estate Services in Morgantown, said Firehouse Subs and the Mexican restaurant Don Patron already have signed leases for space in the Charles Pointe Commons, which is located on 2.7 acres adjacent to the Bridgeport Conference Center.

Premier is the commercial division of Metro Rentals, the owner of the building and property.

Robert Stuart, director of planning and engineering with Genesis Partners, said Metro Rentals acquired the parcel of property from one of his company’s land holding entities.

According to Metro Rentals co-owner David Biafora, the 20,000-square-foot building also is expected to include a nail salon, a Chinese restaurant and a hair salon.  He added that Metro and Premier also are in negotiations with a fitness establishment, some boutiques and a sit-down restaurant that makes specialty pizzas.

Campbell said he also is making arrangements with a cellular phone company.

Furthermore, Metro, will construct another 5,000-square-foot building on the southern end of the property, Biafora said.  That structure will be built as soon as a lease is signed, Campbell added.

“We are going to wait until we have a user before we build that,” Campbell said.  “We can get that up pretty quickly … so we’ll want to custom build that for whomever.”

Biafora said a decision has not been made on the number of tenants who will use that building, but it should be either one or two.  Campbell said the occupants likely will be a bank or a fast-food restaurant.

Biafora said the main shopping plaza should be completed in about 120 days.  He is anticipating that businesses will open their doors by the end of fall.

“Before Christmas we’ll have businesses open,” Biafora said.

Biafora would not disclose how much his company is spending on the undertaking – including land acquisitions – but he admitted it is “well over $2 million.”

Bridgeport Community Development Director Randy Spellman said the building permit for the project shows the commercial shell is valued at $820,000.  That amount does not include build-out expenses, he added.

Spellman also said Metro will have to apply for additional permits whenever the separate units are built for tenants.

The annual rent for the center will be $22 per square foot, according to Biafora.

Biafora said he found Bridgeport to be an attractive place to build a strip mall because he believes the city is viable to his company.  Metro Rentals also owns and operates several apartment complexes in the Bridgeport area.

“It’s been a good community to us, and we thought they could use some of our commercial flavor that we bring to the table,” Biafora added.

Campbell also acknowledged that Metro selected the location in Charles Pointe because of its proximity to the Bridgeport Conference Center, hotels and other businesses.

Bridgeport Mayor Jim Christie said he is looking forward to the new complex because it will supply the city with additional tax revenue and give local residents more shopping choices.

“Any time we bring business to Bridgeport, it’s going to enhance our bottom line … but it will also provide alternative shopping that we don’t have,” Christie added.