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Apple set to open in The SoNo Collection

A 2017 rendering of The SoNo Collection.

NORWALK, Conn. — If you’re an Apple user, this fall you’ll be able to get “Genius Bar” support right here in Norwalk.

Apple is among the seven retailers to have applied to the Norwalk Planning and Zoning Department for a tenant fit-up in The SoNo Collection since the last time NancyOnNorwalk checked in on this process. Another new tenant is H&M, said to be one of the world’s leading fashion and design companies, the largest recent application based on square footage.

Previous inspections of P&Z applications have shown no stores on the middle level of the retail, the third floor of the four-story structure. H&M is planned to be a bi-level store, with its bottom floor on the first floor of retail and its upper floor on the mid-level. Also planned for the mid-level is Talbot’s, which is slated for a space on the other end of the concourse.

The applications on file with P&Z on Wednesday add up to 180,841 square feet. Adding that to the 302,000 square feet assigned to anchor stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, then 67.3% of the total 717,000 square feet is accounted for as retail. If you subtract 180,000 square feet as concourse/public realm space from the total 717,000 square feet, then 89.9% of the mall is rented out, as represented in applications to P&Z.

Apple, of course, is the wildly successful hardware and software company, offering iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. Bloomberg reported in 2015 that a tech-heavy shop like the Apple Store tends to boost a mall’s sales per square foot by 13 percent. CNBC in 2017 called Apple the nation’s top retailer, with $5,546 in sales per square foot.

The National Retail Federation’s STORES.org in 2018 had Apple as 12th in a list of 100 top retailers, behind only big box stores, supermarkets and major drug store chains.

Wednesday’s P&Z snooping resulted in this list of new tenants slated for space in The SoNo Collection:

  • Apple, 8,410 Square feet gross
  • Altar’d State, a woman’s clothing store, 9,391 square feet gross
  • Pandora, a jewelry store, 750 square feet gross
  • CAMP, a family experience store, 9,268 square feet gross
  • Hollister, a Ambercrombie & Fitch brand pitched toward teens, 5,000 square feet gross
  • H&M, 25,313 square feet gross
  • Talbots, a women’s clothing store, 6,013 square feet gross

 

Now, adding the new store applications to the old, you get this list of expected mall non-anchor occupants:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Abercrombie Kids
  • Altar’d State
  • Apple
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Barry’s Bootcamp
  • CAMP
  • Chico’s
  • EQ3
  • H&M
  • Hollister
  • J. Jill
  • Journeys
  • Kay Jeweler’s
  • Lush
  • L’Occitane
  • Made in China
  • Pandora
  • Pinstripes
  • Sephora
  • Soma
  • Talbots
  • Tutti Nails
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • White House Black Market
  • Yong Kang Street
  • Yard House
  • ZARA USA Inc

 

 

The mall is expected to open in October.

17 comments

Jason Milligan July 11, 2019 at 5:13 am

90% preleasing of the mall is excellent. Perhaps the only mall in America being built will be more successful than some predict.

Obviously that is good for the mall owners/investors, but will the mall ultimately be good for Norwalk?

Remember that site was decades in the making. The Government took property from thriving business and property owners through eminent domain proceedings to assemble the site.

How much is the Mall’s annual tax property tax bill?
I wonder / doubt if the annual property tax receipts for the mall will surpass what H & L Cheverolet, CT Limo, Pop’s market, Shell etc were paying 20 years ago before they were put out of business.

Questions also still remain on whether the mall will only draw people to and from the mall causing congestion and infrastructure wear and tear, or if they will stick around to do other things in Norwalk.

This mall was made possible through amazing disruption and interference by the Redelopment Agency.

For Norwalk’s sake I hope the mall is wildly successful but I also hope we all realize how messed up the process was to get the mall.

An $80 million POKO deal is on a lightning course to wreck our downtown. I hope enough people are paying attention to slow / stop it.

Bryan Meek July 11, 2019 at 8:56 am

The Palisades mall is doing fine, but if you drive around there you will witness a wasteland of strip malls and vacant shops. There are 8 vacancies on Main Street in Westport right now. Will Norwalk even get the business property taxes from this or did we give that away too?

Itsjustme July 11, 2019 at 9:24 am

I would think this mall will especially hurt downtown Westport. If the corporate stores can hardly make it now, the wealthy Westporters will drive their Range Rovers to Norwalk to part with their post tax wealth.

Bryan Meek July 11, 2019 at 11:22 am

@Jeff. I95 looks like that at 4 a.m. The picture is also missing the new Walk Bridge which will tower an additional 150 feet above the mall.

Piberman July 11, 2019 at 12:04 pm

The Mall will very likely be a successful investment drawing in shoppers from the surrounding wealthy towns with a population of about 100,000 and perhaps an equally large wealthy population further out including Fairfield, Ridgefield and perhaps even Greenwich. How the Mall plays out for Norwalk’s long depressed Downtown is far more complicated. The Mall’s humongous auto traffic might preclude serious Downtown development for decades and will certainly further burden already congested I-95. Visitors to Downtown’s major attraction – the Aquarium – will certainly be challenged. And the net impact on City finances remains questionable – some additional revenues largely offset by additional public works and maintenance costs. Perhaps the major benefit will be the ability to congregate Downtown without the persistant crime problems owing to increased police presence.

To the best of my knowledge no Mall built in a long depressed Downtown in a small City the size of Norwalk has ever inspired a major redevelopment. Not surprising because serious redevelopment requires attracting major corporate development bringing good jobs. City Hall under leadership of our former Police Chief so far doesn’t seem to have much enthusiasm for encouraging corporate downtown development. Building a new City Hall downtown would be a step in the right direction.

If the Mall is like most other Malls we’ll see oodles of school kids hanging out. Serious shoppers during the day when traffic and safety are concerns. Very quiet times at night, early mornings and late afternoons.

Given the challenges of the new Mall its utterly astonishing the Mayor and City Hall would endorse the Boondoggle Walk Bridge which will tie up Downtown for years and years inflicting major costs without any benefit at all to City residents. That the Mall developers are concerned about the Walk Bridge Boondoggle construction is an open secret.

But why complain. Being able to repair ones Apple without going to Stamford fighting the traffic will be a godsend. Plus the chance to meet neighbors and friends in a safe secure environment ! Lets hope there will be sufficient police presence to prevent problems. In our commuter City surrounding a long depressed Downtown the Mall is the most exciting happening here in modern times. If it turns out as we we hope lets have a statue to Doug Adams – the Mall’s CEO – who had the faith and tenacity to see it through. Lets make him ‘Honarary Mayor” with full rights and privileges.

Mitch Adis July 11, 2019 at 9:11 pm

The big story happened 10 plus years ago. Seligson got the ultimate sweetheart deal. The city helped him assemble all of the parcels that make up 95/7. It cost him $9,000,000. The city assessed the property at $7,000,000. Once he had the last property he sat on the new collection and sold it for $35,000,000. What a nice gift from the city for doing nothing. As I see it, the owners of thes individual properties are owed a lot of money.

Mike Mushak July 11, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Love it! Was hoping for an Eagle Outfitters for all the new Bald Eagles and Ospreys moving into town to buy their outfits. Oh well. Good news is they can save up their nest egg for retirement.

And was that actually a glimmer of optimism I just read from our resident curmudgeon a couple of comments back? Oh, happy day!

I hate the term “mall”, the “SoNo Collection” is too long to utter frequently, so I propose we just call it “the Collection”.
It rolls off the tongue as in “honey, I’ll meet you at the Collection”. You heard it here first.

LadyDrivr July 12, 2019 at 10:48 am

Ha! You may be on to something Mushak: “It rolls off the tongue as in ‘honey, I’ll meet you at the Collection’. You heard it here first.” Best laugh of the morning. Very clever.

Bob Welsh July 12, 2019 at 11:24 am

Yes very clever! It will take some marketing to popularize this. Today, if someone told me to meet them at the collection, I would go to the Yard Waste site.

Debora Goldstein July 12, 2019 at 8:38 pm

Bryan,

The Mall will pay property tax at 50% for the first seven years. Our councilmembers at least negotiated that much.

Remember when Hartford said it was going to return .5% of the sales tax from the mall to Norwalk? Apparently Hartford doesn’t either…

Bryan Meek July 13, 2019 at 8:44 am

@Deb. I’m not talking about the mall. I’m talking about the insides. The Fixtures and Equipment. Stoves and Fridges and clothes racks and cash registers, etc… Does the same break apply to the tenants?

Debora Goldstein July 13, 2019 at 9:46 pm

Bryan,

That’s a good question. I haven’t seen the issue come up in all of the many meetings held in connection with modifying the LDA. My guess is that the abatement won’t apply to the tenants, but that’s a question for the folks who are elected and PAID to answer the taxpayers questions…

I’m still waiting to hear back from customer service on a question about the bag ban that was sent a week before it went into effect.

Bryan Meek July 14, 2019 at 12:02 am

@Deb. Hopefully we aren’t leaving even more money on the table. Your bag ban question will take a few years to answer if we are dealing with the same scenario of making it up as we go along. Cranbury Liquor never had plastic bags, now all their customers get to pay this new tax and no one really knows where it’s going. Incredible.

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