Zamias plans to refill mall
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 04,2013
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
The southern entrance of Diamond Run Mall in Rutland Town is shown Thursday.
Zamias Services CEO Joe Anthony says his company can once again fill the Diamond Run Mall.
The 400,000-square-foot mall was at near capacity when Zamias sold it to Gemini Real Estate Advisors in 2007. Gemini is surrendering the mall to its creditor, a complex investment trust, and Zamias is being brought in to manage the mall once again, a role it held for a short time after the sale.
Anthony noted that occupancy was just shy of 100 percent occupied when Zamias sold the mall and its 52 store spaces. This week, only 30 stores were operating.
“I don’t know if Gemini went wrong,” Anthony said Thursday. “Certainly, this country’s had major economic issues since 2008 and Rutland’s been affected.”
Anthony said Zamias would fill the mall as it did before, by taking advantage of its relationships with national chains. The company operates 43 shopping centers and boasts of having filled middle-market enclosed malls with “high level retail tenants” since the 2008 financial collapse.
“We’ll literally go space by space and do a plan,” he said.
Anthony also said he could not speak to how Gemini handled setting rents at the mall, but that under Zamias there would be no pre-determined rents.
“All rents are negotiated,” he said.
While Anthony said he could not name any of the stores he hopes to bring to the Diamond Run Mall — such negotiations are typically bound by confidentiality agreements — but would discuss the type of stores he would pursue. Toward the top of the list was filling the almost empty food court.
“Certainly, I think the food court is important,” he said. “We will look to some of the recent tenants we’ve worked with. Name brands people are familiar with are important.”
Anthony said the company will pay attention to what the general public is interested in while recruiting.
“Certainly, I think we need some additional name-brand — we call it ‘rags retailers,’” he said. “It just means clothes. Teen apparel is always important. Certainly, children’s apparel is needed.”
Zamias has had success with toy stores, book stores and music stores, and Anthony said he believed they could attract those to the Diamond Run Mall.
“All of our enclosed malls have a book store,” he said. “All of our enclosed malls have some sort of toy store offering.”
Anthony said he intends to work with the existing management team, though he may send “a few more from corporate to help out.”
Anthony said Zamias has no interest in buying the mall — at least not right now.
“The property’s not for sale,” he said. “Properties like the Diamond Run Mall are things we buy and sell on a daily basis. It certainly would be an interest if it were up for sale, but it’s not, nor has there been any discussion.”