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TMCNet:  Shopping center on track for July opening

[December 31, 2012]

Shopping center on track for July opening

Dec 31, 2012 (The News Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- MORGANTON -Burke County hopes to see a retail spark in 2013, particularly with the opening of Morganton Heights Shopping Center in July.

"We turn space over in July," said Steve Howe, chief operating officer for WRS, Inc. Real Estate Investments, the firm handling the retail center development.

Howe said construction is on track for the July opening and tenants to move in.

"Some small shopping (space) is available," Howe said. "The leasing is going so well, I've got to believe we will be full or a couple small spaces left." Lee Anderson, director for development and design services for the City of Morganton, agreed.

"We are still looking at sometime mid-summer opening all the way through Thanksgiving," Lee Anderson said. "By Thanksgiving it will be 85 percent occupied." Anderson said the plans for construction are on schedule and the center is 65 percent occupied.

"They are starting with building construction," Anderson said. "They are finishing curb and gutter work. All utility systems are done at this point." Anderson said phone, internet and cable for the retailers is still being installed, while all electrical parts are already in place.

Anderson said all stone work had been completed.

"Even with rainy weather, there should be no obstacles at this point," he said.

Morganton Heights will be anchored by Super Walmart and Belk.

"There are still small shops available," Howe said. "Junior boxes are full." Junior boxes refer to the larger spaces with more than 10,000 square feet in the center.

"We've leased a number of space on the outlot," he said. "We have one space available in the stand-alones." The outlot is space outside of the retail center where stand-alone, or individual buildings, stand.

Morganton Heights Shopping Center has seven outlot spaces available with 44 retail tenant spaces available, Anderson said.

Belk was the last tenant to make a formal announcement of its location change in November.

"We haven't had anything brand new since Belk," Howe said.

In addition to Belk and Walmart, confirmed tenants are Shoe Show, Cato, Maurice's, Rue 21, Fashion Max, Great Clips, Sally Beauty, G2K Games, PetSmart, Froogle's Dollar Store, JoAnn Fabrics, Ross, Shoe Dept., TJ Maxx, GNC, a Mexican restaurant, Andy's China King Buffet, Dilishi Frozen Yogurt, Mattress Firm, Verizon, a nail salon, Tobacco Store, SmartCuts and Staples.

___ (c)2012 The News Herald (Morganton, N.C.) Visit The News Herald (Morganton, N.C.) at www.morganton.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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