Last week, one of our posts detailed the development of the new Arbor Hills shopping center. Located on Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor, the project seems to be catching more steam this month as the developers on the project announced that they have had 15 tenants sign leases already and are in various stages of negotiations with many others.

This is huge news for the developers who have been working on this project since they purchased the site in 2010. But their goal has always been to change the region’s retail landscape for quite some time now; and with some big-name tenants on the leases, developers think they may finally achieve this goal.

Popular national brands like Hot Mama boutique, Lululemon Athletica and The North Face are among the 15 that have already signed leases. Even some local businesses are getting in on the opportunity, like Running Fit and Café Zola. As the Running Fit’s president Randy Step explains, this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “I love to be next to like-minded businesses,” he explains, pointing out that being in the same shopping center as other athletic apparel companies will be mutually beneficial for all retailers.

As the developers point out, many of the tenants are new to the Ann Arbor area but have been “circling the region’s real estate market for years.” Some are not new to the state of Michigan though and have achieved relative success at Troy’s Somerset Collection. Giving space and visibility to all of the stores will be key for developers who point out that depending on how space is divided, there is room for 23 retail shops in the shopping district. With much of the retail space facing busy Washtenaw Avenue with large windows for shoppers to look into the stores, developers hope that will be enough to attract the necessary numbers of clientele the stores want.

Source:, “Arbor Hills developers reveal tenant lineup for project on Washtenaw Avenue,” Lizzy Alfs, April 14, 2013

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