By Jenna Esarey – Correspondent
Mar 14, 2014, 6:00am EDT
A Nordstrom Rack store opened in Shelbyville Road Plaza in October 2013, marking Nordstrom Inc.’s entry into Louisville and Kentucky.
Nordstrom Rack operates about 140 stores in the United States that carry merchandise from Nordstrom department stores and Nordstrom.com at discounted prices. The store also carries apparel, accessories and shoes that are purchased for Nordstrom Rack stores from many brands carried in Nordstrom stores, including Hugo Boss, Kate Spade and Trina Turk.
“Generally, Nordstrom Rack stores locate in markets where there is already a Nordstrom department store — which Louisville does not have,” said Tommy Edwards, leasing agent for Hagan Properties Inc., which owns the St. Matthews shopping center.
For Shelbyville Road Plaza, Nordstrom Rack is another big-name tenant in addition to stores such as Trader Joe’s. The shopping center is 87 percent leased.
A big challenge of the Nordstrom Inc. project was converting the former Circuit City space that had sat vacant since 2009 into the new store, said Edwards.
A new facade — which had to blend well with the current design of Shelbyville Road Plaza but also meet Nordstrom Rack criteria — was constructed. Other improvements included a new heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system and interior and exterior lighting.
“It’s almost cheaper and less time consuming to build new than to retrofit,” Edwards said.
The new store is a finalist in Business First’s 2014 Commercial Real Estate Awards program in the Best Retail Lease or Sale category.
50: Approximate number of new retail positions created by the opening of Nordstrom Rack.
3: Years it took to complete the deal.
8: Number of months needed to renovate the store’s space.
Perseverance pays off
The deal with Nordstrom was three years in the making.
“They were concerned they wouldn’t have enough brand recognition to make the risk worthwhile,” Edwards said. “We were told from the beginning of the deal, back in 2010, ‘We really only look at markets where we already have a presence.’ It took us a long time to sit and talk with them about the Louisville market.”
In 2011, a Nordstrom Rack opened in Indianapolis, another market without a Nordstrom department store, but with similar demographics to the Louisville market.
That store was a success and led to the approval for the Louisville location.
“From that store’s opening, it took another two years,” Edwards said. “Deals like that take time. There’s lots of money involved. It’s got to be the right deal. Everything has to go perfect.”
Talks began with Nordstrom in 2010, with direct negotiations beginning in April 2011. The deal was finalized in March 2013.
“Anytime you get a deal like that, it’s always going to be a big deal,” Edwards said. “Nordstrom’s been around forever.”