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Vacancies Dog Waldbaum’s Shopping Center

Local broker seeks to fill empty storefronts as rent is lowered again.


The office of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate has been tapped to fill the many vacant stores at the Waldbaum’s shopping center at Long Beach Plaza on East Park Avenue.

While some might look at the center as indicative of the commercial vacancy landscape in the city, brokers at Prudential Douglas said Long Beach is not nearly as bleak compared to some surrounding communities.

Waldbaum’s A&P, the landlord at Long Beach Plaza, made Prudential Douglas the exclusive listing agent about six months ago, according to Bob Stark, the contact broker for the center. Stark indicated that in today’s real estate climate, Waldbaum’s A&P has had to compromise on its asking price in order to draw serious interest from prospective renters.

“The rent has been reduced first from $27.50 per square foot, to $25 per square foot,” Stark said. “Now this week, we just got approval to lower it to $24 per square. We are trying to be very competitive.”

Starks said the agency is negotiating with one local and one national outfit to fill some of the vacancies, but he who declined to comment on the specific businesses or spaces, which range in size from 950 to 3,500 square feet.

The reduced price-per-square creates a range in rent from $22,000 to $84,000 per month, not including taxes and common area maintenance fees.According to Joe Ponte, another broker at Prudential Douglas, these fixed prices and the price-per-square range can present a stumbling block to mom and pop retailers.

“Most shopping centers have more restrictions than independent stores,” Ponte said. “Sometimes a mom and pop doesn’t meet the criteria. [Renting in a center] requires more security, greater insurance for underwriters, and maintenance of the shopping mall. Whereas in an independent store you usually shovel your own space.”

Ponte noted that due to these restrictions, developers often target national franchises to fill the space. And Stark did reveal that the agency is trying to lure franchises such as Denny’s, IHOP, Friendly’s, or Panera Bread, especially considering the center can accommodate parking for those businesses.

One critic of the shopping center, resident Richard Boodman, said the area is somewhat blighted by loiterers who create the appearance of an unsafe place to shop.

“There’s a lot of low-lifes there,” Boodman said. “You got drunks, you got gamblers. It should be the Times Square of Long Beach, but it’s a matter of people not being comfortable shopping because they’re concerned about their safety.”

A spokesperson for the Long Beach Police Department said they haven’t gotten any recent complaints from residents about the center, and Stark said the area has been spruced up a bit, including a new paving and stripe job in the parking lot and increased security. 

Ponte points to the coming months as a time of hope for the center to rejuvenate, stating that April is often a buzzing time to rent.

“Some people who were thinking about opening a store, come March or April, they’ll say ‘I’m gonna go with the business in April, because we got the whole summer,” Ponte said. “I’ve been doing Long Beach real estate since 1971. It’s another cycle, just like the housing market.”

Stark said the agency is open to offers from retailers of all sizes, and will entertain suggestions and leads from the community.

Lloyd February 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM
So maybe the gloomy prediction by one poster here is a valid one. When King Kullen opens and the Waldbaums shopping center is still considered undesirable by many shoppers and potential store renters, then it will empty out and the City and County will take over with Social service agencies and rehab centers that cater to the very people who scare away the shoppers now.
Tideline February 03, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Lloyd, check back with me 18-24 months from now and lets see what happens. If prudential cant get the stores rented while there are still tenants there, how much harder will it get to rent the empty stores when more have closed ? Prediction: last stores to pull the plug liquor store, chase, social security, waldgreens.
Candygram for Mongo February 03, 2012 at 05:08 PM
i heard Bob Stark could sell a golf ball through a garden hose!
Lloyd February 03, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Thatll be a sad day for the City...an abandoned shopping center or one loaded with entitlement agencies which pay NO taxes and give away our hard earned money. Just think.of all the cushy govt jobs that our politicians can then give away to their friends and family. Jimmy and Margaret will have a field day on Patch lodging their complaints. In the meantime....shop there and keep the stores in business.
Barbara DuBow Bernardino February 09, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Bowling, a book store, a gymborie, a small theatre playhouse, art galleries, dollar store, roller skating rink, are all good ideas. Parking is so accessible that a mix of many of these ideas would work well. In the meantime, the Waldbaum's shopping center looks and feels unkempt.....it needs a shower and good scrubbing...better lighting and consistent police presence would also help. Again.....here is another opportunity for 'US' to be creative. Let's get to work!!!
Jack February 13, 2012 at 03:33 AM
The article mentions a rent from 22,000 to $84,000 per month based on store sizes from 950 to 3,500 square feet and a rate of $24.00 per square foot. This is incorrect. Commercial real estate rents are expressed in a price per square foot per year. So the vacent Waldbaums' stores would rent for $22,000 to $84,000 per year, not per month.
Lloyd February 13, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Thanks, Jack. I thought that quoted rate was way out of line. $22,000+ a month for a Chinese take out and a sandwich shop would necessitate an impossible number of egg rolls and subs to sell before the businessman sees his first dollar of profit. You should write to the Patch reporter and demand a correction.
Lloyd February 13, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Jack. Check out my post here on Jan. 27. I questioned the accuracy of those monthly rentals too at that time. But the posters here on Patch were so involved in bashing Waldbaums and all the "malcontents" who allegedly roam thru the shopping center, they never picked up on that mistake as I did. This is what happens when people's unwarranted fears take over their common senses. Im glad you pointed out the error.
Trying to Make Sense February 13, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Cheerleading for the Walbaum's will accomplish nothing. "Let's get to work?", are you the landlord Barbara? Or are you forming a real estate investment trust and seeking people to put money into those "great ideas"? Lloyd, people are not afraid, they just find it an unpleasant experience and have voted with their feet... they don't frequent the place, businesses fail. You are welcome to go as much as you want and will not be criticized for it, but don't suggest others should frequent that shopping center until it has what they want and is cleansed of what they don't want. Shame the landlord hasn't seen fit to improve it in many ways, because the result is a new King Kullen over the bridge. Many already travel into Oceanside to shop as our Waldbaums doesn't read their market well... the King Kullen may put the Waldbaum's center out of its misery.
Tideline February 13, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Meagain, who told you that about Bob Stark ? Bob Stark ? Starks results do not bear out your comment.
Candygram for Mongo February 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Do you deny that he could sell the chrome off a trailer hitch then?
Tideline February 18, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Meagain, are you bob Stark, or just a shill for him. There is now yet another vacancy in that strip mall. How many stores has he rented since this article was written ? I suspect the answer is 0. being a good rental agent in the commercial area, has little to do with sales. Two different specialties, being skilled at one does not mean you are good at the other. The avg prudential agent earns $23,000 per year. not everyone is a top agent. King Kullen will put the final nail in waldbaums coffin. Are less than 50% of the stores now occupied ? That is attractive .....
laocoon February 18, 2012 at 01:52 AM
$22,000 to $84,000 per month for a store in Long Beach? That's $4,200 per day. You're kidding, right?
Richard Boodman February 18, 2012 at 03:58 AM
@Iaocoon.....It's an error. See Jack's comment on Feb 12th at 10;33 PM.
Lloyd February 18, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Yes. See my post just before that on Jan 27 at 10:14 AM. I caught that mistake right away and questioned its validity. I may not be an expert on real estate rentals, but I am an expert on Chinese take out, and I know that theres no way they could sell enough egg rolls and fried rice to cover an $84,000 aa mo nth rent bill.
Lloyd February 18, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Yes. See my post way before that on Jan 27 at 10:14 AM. I caught that mistake right away and questioned its validity. I may not be an expert on real estate rentals, but I am an expert on Chinese take out, and I know that theres no way they could sell enough egg rolls and fried rice to cover an $84,000 a month rent bill.
Candygram for Mongo February 19, 2012 at 12:33 AM
No you don't call me a shill, Buster! My only point, and I'm sure you'd have to agree, is that when Bob Stark gives you a sales pitch, he gives it to you hard and fast, leaving you wanting more.
LB TAXPAYA February 21, 2012 at 07:13 PM
just had 3 bums hit me up for cash within 5 minutes while waiting for someone to come off the train! Is this the Economy? Is it Obamas fault? Or are these people just pure lazy? Please advise!
Candygram for Mongo February 21, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Holdovers from the Bush years
Lloyd February 21, 2012 at 09:39 PM
YeH. They were all former employees of MF Global.
Lloyd February 21, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Were any of these beggars City Councilmen?
Lloyd February 21, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Were any of these "bums" City Councilmen?
ed March 08, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Let's do the liberal thing. Knock down the shooping center and put up section 8 housing. Then the homeless will have a place to live and there will be no shopping center for people to hang out drinking & peeing.
Lloyd March 08, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Good idea. Theyll find their way over to the West End and they can hang out, drink, and pee on Beech St.
ed March 09, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Price per square foot is based on a yearly rental, not per month. Exaample - For a 1000 sq ft store this would be $24,000 per year or $2,000 per month. However most commercial rentals are "triple net" (rent + taxes + insurance) So for a 1000 sq ft store front you can add (appx.) another $1500 in taxes & insurance for a total of about $3500 per month. I hope this clears up the $24,000 a month postings.
Lloyd March 09, 2012 at 04:23 PM
We got it. But thats still a lot of egg rolls, pizza slices, or nail cutting to sell just to cover the monthly nut. Its no wonder that those empty stores might wind up as government entitlement centers paid for by all of us here.
Lloyd March 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Nobody takes this seriously, but one funeral per month covers that expense. And theres no competiton in town.
Candygram for Mongo March 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Or maybe a Chinese buffet
Lloyd March 09, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Chinese Buffet?? I'd be there every night.
Tideline March 09, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Chase is paying $14,000 per month. Meagain, repeating again, if Stark is so good, how come he has more empty stores to rent now, than he had one year ago if his sales pitch is so good ? The results don't bear out what you are saying about Stark/Prudential.

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