The malls in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are finally filling up with tenant business again. This could be a sure-fire sign that consumer confidence is up, and the downward spiraling economy is solidly on an up-swirl. In fact, a lot of malls are at 98 or 99 percent occupancy. According to one expert, the high rate of mall occupancy validates the fact that Grand Rapids is a center of retail activity.

Still, having such high occupancy means that malls must wait before they can bring in new and cutting edge retailers, and this can in turn create landlord-tenant disagreements. According to one mall executive, they are trying to update their shopping destination as leases turn over. Essentially, they want to bring in more variety in their tenant mix.

For example, the Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids will be soon adding a new upscale retailer from the United Kingdom. The retailer, known as Fresh Handmade Cosmetics would serve as replacement for The Body Shop store, which sells similar products. Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is set to open at the beginning of May.

Whenever a landlord-tenant agreement is made, there is the potential for landlord-tenant disagreements. In Michigan malls, where lease agreements can span multiple years and involve hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars, disagreements can be fierce and end in long drawn out legal battles. Such landlord-tenant matters require delicacy, tact and an expert understanding of the law to resolve. Strategies such as mediation and other types of settlement negotiation may also be employed to equitably resolve these conflicts without the need for court proceedings.

Source:, “As Grand Rapids malls near 100 percent occupancy, new challenges on horizon” Sandra Martinez, Apr. 23, 2014

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