Weingarten Realty’s director of investor relations Kristin Gandy tells the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff that the owners of the vacant Alabama Theater building in the Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center at the corner of South Shepherd and West Alabama do not have a deal for the space with any new tenant, including Staples. Swamplot reported earlier this morning that a local construction firm is soliciting bids from subcontractors for an extensive interior demolition of the 1939 Art Deco theater, which from the early eighties until late last year was the home of the Alabama Bookstop bookstore. Drawings detailing the demolition were prepared for Weingarten by Heights Venture Architects, and the bid documents included floor plans for a prototype Staples office-supply store.
Gandy tells Sarnoff
Weingarten has not signed a lease nor has any lease under (letter of intent) with any particular tenant at this time. We have several tenants that are reviewing, but we don’t have a definitive agreement in place.
Weingarten may not have an agreement in place, but the publicly traded company certainly has demolition plans in place, already labeled as issued for permitting. Which means either
How much does Weingarten want to demo?
Here’s the scope of work listed on the plans, which are labeled as Interior Demolition, Phase I:
Demolition of interior, non-structural elements in an existing shopping center. Level out existing sloping floor slab and in-fill basement and unused return air tunnels in order to prepare a ‘cold-dark shell’ ready to accept future tenant construction. Tenant construction to be permitted separately.
New construction includes:
The demolition includes the removal of raised-platform wood floors that were inserted into the seating area of the theater when it was transformed into a multi-level bookstore in 1984. One of the features of that renovation, designed by Mike Treadway Architects, was that — for the most part — it left the theater space it occupied intact. Weingarten’s current explicit request that the theater floor be “permanently leveled” by encasing it in concrete indicates an entirely different attitude toward the theater space than the one the same company took 26 years ago.
Which raises a question: If any new non-theater, non-bookstore tenant would require a level floor, why couldn’t new flooring follow this same non-destructive strategy? A new tenant might appreciate the efficiencies of an underfloor air and power distribution system.
Unless, of course, the tenant — like Staples and other national big-box retailers — requires the floor to support warehouse-grade loads.
- Alabama Theater rumors denied [Prime Property]
- Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center [Kaldis Development Interests]
- Weingarten Plans an Alabama Theater Demolition. Is Staples Moving In? [Swamplot]