Story last updated at 1/14/2009 - 10:39 am
KETCHIKAN - The title of Plaza Port West, Ketchikan's largest retail center, transferred on Jan. 2 to Rob and Debbie Hill, Seattle-based commercial property owners. The Hills were represented in the sale by Juneau commercial real estate broker Carlton Smith.
"This is very good news for Ketchikan," Smith says. "The Hills are well-seasoned commercial property owners who will bring a new level of entrepreneurial enthusiasm to the mall."
Plaza Port West hosts nearly two-dozen retail outlets and offices. The two-level waterfront facility of 88,000 square feet is one of the largest shopping malls in Southeast Alaska.
A consortium of institutional investors, including several Alaska pension funds, previously owned the mall. The Jan. 2 sale marked the conclusion of several months of negotiations.
"In many ways, I look at this as an ideal property transaction," Smith says. "The economy of Southeast is in transition and at such times it helps to have experienced business people, who are new to the region like the Hills, come on the scene."
Rob Hill says he appreciates the challenge of acquiring a mall at a time when malls throughout the United States face stiff competition from the big box stores.
"Plaza Port West has several advantages," he says. "It has a beautiful, comfortable interior; an excellent, centralized waterfront location; plenty of parking; and is adjacent to the Safeway store."
The Hills hope to attract additional tenants.
"Foot traffic is the key to a successful mall," Hill says. "My number one goal is to attract new retailers, but we'll also be looking for other local service providers that will increase foot traffic."