🏙 From Pizza Place to Shopping Space: The Evolution of Vista Place

More than a decade ago, 2990 Commercial St SE was transformed. 

The development of the Vista Place shopping center is a testament to visionary planning, resilience in the face of economic challenges, and the power of community-driven redevelopment. 

Today’s newsletter looks back at the inspiring journey of the development of Vista Place, highlighting the critical aspects and the lasting impact it made on Salem’s real estate market.

As a case study, I love this property. Its story highlights everything a commercial real estate venture needs to be successful. 

  • Perseverance: Following the closing of Izzy’s Pizza in 2008, the property changed hands several times before current ownership embarked upon redevelopment. But before they could even begin, they showed incredible determination in light of multiple offers on the property and dealing with the FDIC as the seller.
  • Leveraging of community relationships: Vista Place’s developers benefitted from their positive relationships with key development partners (architects, engineers, consultants and city staff) to expeditiously move the project forward. Nurturing these relationships beforehand helped them move more swiftly through the permitting process and ensure they were building a project that would attract high-quality tenants. 
  • Community-first development: Throughout the whole process, the vision for Vista Place was a shopping center that would benefit the neighborhood and work synergistically with the surrounding retail and office uses. The developers worked to ensure the spaces would be desirable by tenants looking to locate in the area and provide goods and services desired by the community.
  • Strategic pre-leasing: Through our analysis on the front side of this development, we knew of a number of tenants seeking space in South Salem, unable to find exactly what they were looking for in the area they wanted to locate their business. Because of that, we were able to secure three tenants early on in the project, which helped reduce the developer’s risk in bringing a building to market on a completely speculative basis. 

Changing hands

Initially acquired by a local investor in 2007, this property went through a series of dramatic shifts before finally being developed into the shopping center that exists there today. 

The investor who purchased the property from the owner who leased to Izzy’s sold the property to Silver Falls Bank, which later went out of business, leading to the property’s control by the FDIC. 

These events set the stage for a redevelopment project that would revitalize the property and significantly impact Salem’s commercial landscape.

Our clients were positioned to take advantage of a distressed situation, ready to turn it into a beautiful community hub. 

Redevelopment with a Vision

The redevelopment of Vista Place required a deep understanding of the market, keen timing, and a commitment to community values. 

The project, spearheaded by our clients Mark and Cory, transformed the property into a thriving shopping center.

Once the ink was dry on the deed, this powerhouse duo (one’s a developer and one’s a contractor) rolled up their sleeves and started immediately, turning the vision into a reality. 

The Power of Relationships and Reputation

Numerous challenges arose during the development of Vista Place, chief among them the recovery timing following the great recession of 2007-2009 – was now the right time to lead out of the recession with a new project? 

Despite these hurdles, the developers saw the opportunity in the adversity and charged ahead. They navigated the project’s complex hurdles, including the entitlement process and working with Salem’s municipal codes, with determination and grit. 

Because they weren’t out-of-town developers trying to force their way through the process without knowledge of local codes and systems, our clients leveraged their quality reputations to ensure the project proceeded as smoothly as possible. 

Their relationships with key community members proved invaluable in securing support, navigating bureaucratic processes, and attracting high-profile tenants.

Their perseverance through the ups and downs of this project is a reminder that nothing is certain in the CRE world, but those who are positioned to persevere reap the rewards. 

Strategic Pre-Leasing and Community Impact

A key strategy of Vista Place’s successful development was pre-leasing. We leaned on our membership with the International Council of Shopping Centers and relationships with tenant-representation brokers to ensure the property was exposed early on to the highest-quality pool of potential tenants. Before Vista Place’s completion, tenants had already been secured and were ready to open for business.

This pre-leasing strategy and the selection of anchor tenants accelerated the development process and ensured the shopping center’s sustained success. 

In more than a decade of operations, Vista Place has not experienced a vacancy longer than 4-5 months. 

That’s the power of community-led development. 

Vista Place revitalized a crucial intersection in Salem and catalyzed further developments. It’s a model we look back on as a way to develop hand-in-hand with the city we love. 

Creating a Destination for Salem

The ultimate goal of Vista Place was to create a destination that served the local community and attracted visitors to Salem. 

We achieved this by offering a mix of retail options and services catering to diverse needs and preferences. 

As we reflect on the success of Vista Place, we are reminded of the importance of vision, resilience, and community in real estate development. 

The project is a shining example of how strategic planning, strong relationships, and a commitment to community values can lead to transformative outcomes.

We love bringing well-used and well-loved spaces to Salemites. 

Your Insights and Reflections

Have you witnessed or been part of a transformative real estate development in your community? 

How have these projects shaped the future of your community? 

We look forward to integrating and iterating with your unique insights. 

Thank you for subscribing to FCRE Market Insights.

Stay tuned next week as Ruth Dana tells us about one of her most memorable deals.

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