Charleston Town Center’s new owners look to give opportunities to small business entrepreneurs

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A second chance at success -- the new owners of the Charleston Town Center hope to transform empty storefronts into opportunities.

Charleston Mayor Amy Schuler Goodwin made the announcement on Monday. The Hull Property Group purchased the mall for $7.5 million.

The property adds to the company’s growing portfolio of retail property, comprised of more than 16 million square feet including 33 enclosed shopping malls across 16 states.

Several stores have closed in the mall since the beginning of 2021, including Talbots, Sephora, Chico’s, and White House Black Market, so WSAZ asked how the company plans to bring back stores to the area.

“We cannot pull a rabbit out of a hat. Everyone wants an X, Y, Z store here and X, Y, Z store there,” said John Mulherin, vice president of government relations with Hull Property Group. “What we can do is create an atmosphere that if a store wants to come to Charleston, we’re inviting.”

Hull Property group says they can’t make any promises on what department stores will return to the mall. Instead, they are choosing to focus on small business owners who want a brick-and-mortar store.

“We’re seeing ghost kitchens, meal prep to go. There are a lot of different elements that go together that can we can utilize in this space,” Mulherin said.

The American Dream Project is a program the company uses to encourage entrepreneurs to go after their dreams. It’s a contest where businesses apply to pilot the store and cover the rent, giving a business a low-risk opportunity to try it out.

“There’s going to be a retail development, a hospitality development, entertainment elements, and maybe some housing elements. There’s a lot of different things that it can be,” Mulherin said.

The Hull Property group will be in Charleston next week to look at ways for redevelopment.

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