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A Conversation With … Curtis Jared

President/CEO, Jared Enterprises Inc.

Posted online

You recently completed a multiyear facelift of Brentwood Center. What was your vision?
If you’ve seen the older renderings of how that center was before renovation happened 25 or so years ago, it used to be more individual storefronts. Brentwood North is a very unique center because if you look at the way it was constructed, it was built in multiple phases randomly. It’s somewhere between 50 and 60 separate buildings. During the renovation, it all looked and ran as one coherent center. Even though it looked good at the time, it never really gave a true identity to individual businesses that were in there. If you look across the street at the Battlefield Mall, where they’ve made it more of a lifestyle center, that’s more of a modern way to look at things to give everybody their own individual look and identity. And that’s what we’re trying to create, to bring back a little bit more of the uniqueness of retail. Before with the overhang, you really couldn’t see the storefront. You couldn’t really see merchandise. Now, driving by, you can literally window shop.

In the last few months, Staxx, Jellybeans and The Press Coffee & Juice Bar have announced their moves to Brentwood from Farmers Park. Bon Bon’s Candy House also is moving from Parkcrest Center. Talk about those tenant acquisitions.
Brentwood, I think, always has been known as your more premiere local boutique retail center. It just got worn down and dated. With the renovations and a lot of the other tenants and the different boutiques and localness of it, we do have good foot traffic there with a mixing in of your goods and services to make it a well-diversified retail center. It’s not just soft goods, but you’ve got hair salons, nail salons, restaurants, workout facilities, Orangetheory Fitness, and now we’ve got Him, a men’s store that’s getting ready to open up, the bridal store, a rug store, cellphone store. Some of the tenants have made comments that it’s refreshing to see customers walking in with bags from other tenants.

How are brick-and-mortar retailers competing in the age of Amazon?
If you look at the vast majority of your tenants there, they’re boutique. They’re local. People want to be able to pick out an outfit or something to buy that’s not something that everybody has. A lot of the local owners and operators, they’re more in tune with the different trends that are out there. They keep their customer list, and they’re more engaged. Customer service is real key to retail in today’s world.

When you first acquired Brentwood in 2015, you petitioned the city for incentives, including a blight designation. That was ultimately denied. What were your takeaways from the process?
We caught a lot of flack on Brentwood. At the time, we were the enemy.

You look at a lot of your other bigger cities. A lot of them will allow them to use whatever tax incentives are available. They say with new development you don’t need tax incentives? OK, fine. Don’t give tax incentives and you’ll see slow growth. If you say, “Hey, here’s the incentives I’m asking for to make this thing more economically feasible,” then you’re going to have a much better product. You hear from national tenants and other tenants that are outside the area saying, “Man, it’s more difficult to develop here.” It is.

Curtis Jared can be reached at cjared@jaredenterprises.com.

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