Nov 20

Deal of the Week: Turnaround in Tomball Houston Chronicle

Several new tenants have brought the Four Corners Shopping Center to 90 percent occupancy, the latest indication that a $10 million overhaul of the center at a major intersection in Tomball is drawing tenants.

Houston-based real estate firm Baker Katz bought the property at Texas 249 and FM 2920 out of foreclosure in 2010 when it was only 30 percent occupied.

Thanks to a Chapter 380 partnership with the city of Tomball and the Tomball Economic Development Corp., Baker Katz was able to redevelop the shopping center to attract popular tenants. Under the agreement, Baker Katz gets reimbursed for a portion of its costs through future sales tax revenue increases generated by the center.

“They provided the economic incentive we needed to justify the investment in the shopping center and to turn it around and really attract those first-rate type of retailers,” said Kenneth Katz, principal at Baker Katz. “It looks like a brand new suburban shopping center.”

The center, with 110,000 square feet in three buildings, has a new facade and landscaping.

When Baker Katz bought the center, a 40,000-square-foot Kroger store had sat vacant for years after the grocer relocated to a bigger location nearby.

“Aesthetically, it looked like it hadn’t been touched since it was built in the 1980s,” Katz said.

The former Kroger space was carved up to house three “junior anchors.” Boot Barn recently joined Party City and Spec’s in the space. Other tenants include Tuesday Morning, Premiere Cinemas and Rent-a-Center.

Also, Eyemart Express opened a 3,000-square-foot store, Jimmy John’s sandwich shop is planning a 2,500-square-foot location and Chipotle has signed a 2,200-square-foot lease.

Baker Katz worked with the Texas Department of Transportation to improve access to the center, which was in the path of major roadwork.

A portion of the property was torn down to improve access to the center, which is south of FM 2920 between Business 249 and the Texas 249 access road.

Within 3 miles of the center, the population has grown at an annual rate of 0.8 percent since 2010 to 18,465, according to Baker Katz. It’s expected to reach 20,141 in 2019 after growing 1.75 percent per year. The average household income is $83,659, compared with $72,809 for all U.S. households.

Among the other retailers near the intersection are H-E-B, Target, Lowe’s, Academy Sports & Outdoors and Ross Dress for Less.

Baker Katz is also redeveloping shopping centers is Atascocita, along Interstate 10 in east Houston and in Port Arthur.