The major renovation of a well-worn shopping center situated near both Peachtree Mall and Columbus State University is about to pick up steam.
Interior demolition of the once-popular Gentian Corners at 3705 Gentian Blvd. has been taking place for several months. But construction on the exterior facade is poised to begin as well with the shopping center's owners aiming to rejuvenate the 23,533-square-foot property.
"We've demolished most of the interior. We’re getting them back to what they call shells. And we’re working on replacing the exterior finishes and replacing the windows and that sort of thing right now," commercial real-estate broker Jack Hayes said Monday. He also is a partner in the project being tackled by Johami Development LLC. Columbus broker David Johnson also is involved in the venture.
City building permits dated July 5 show $440,000 is being spent on the current wave of renovation, which follows the property's rezoning from neighborhood commercial to general commercial.
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The working name for the shopping center, Hayes has said, will be the Shoppes at Trail Side. That's because the land upon which it sits is adjacent to the Fall Line Trace walking, running and bicycling trail that cuts through the city.
Built in 1984, the shopping center is located at the intersection of Gentian and Reese Road, and is very near the heavily trafficked Manchester Expressway. At one time, it included a healthy mix of food, entertainment and service businesses, most notably the popular Coach's Corner sports bar and restaurant.
Hayes has said there are plans to attract eateries to include a coffee and ice cream shops, a bicycle or running store, and other businesses that will appeal to people residing in the area, as well as those driving through and near the neighborhood. Other tenant possibilities include a beauty salon, dry cleaner and a pizzeria with outdoor deck seating.
With the center now in construction mode, there has yet to be a concerted effort to pitch the shopping center to prospective tenants that would be a good fit for it, the commercial broker said.
"To be frank with you, it’s kind of hard to lease something that’s 'going to be' versus 'what it is.' So we haven’t actively pursued anybody yet," Hayes said. "Folks who have come to us and expressed an interest, their interest is really based on its as-is condition today. We’re really looking to put a lot of money in it to bring it up."
Within three to four months, he said, the revived shopping center should see 'significant change' in its appearance. The design plan shows it mirroring the new Dollar General store across the street, with the colors of olive, brown, bronze and tan being incorporated into its look. The metal roof will be dark copper.
"The windows will be sort of traditional storefront windows with that same dark metal copper framing around it. It’s going to look substantially different," the developer said. "It's going to be amazing when we’re done."