Although a potential buyer/developer and grocery store tenant for Brookshire Village Shoppes recently ended negotiations after being unable to reach a deal, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said the grocer may find another way to move into the vacant anchor spot.
“I’m hopeful the grocery store is still interested, but they may want to buy the entire center themselves, or they may want to work with a different potential landlord,” said Brainard, who lives within walking distance of the shopping center and said he frequented O’Malia Food Market. “The good news is I think there is a grocery store who has approved the site, but the question is who is going to own the center.”
The mayor declined to identify the grocery tenant, but he said it was one of two that seriously considered the site. He said the company researched the site and decided it would be a good fit but then asked for a substantial rent decrease shortly before a deal was reached, which ended discussions.
Brookshire Village Shoppes on the southwest corner of 126th Street and Gray Road was home to the city’s lone grocery store east of Keystone Parkway until Marsh supermarkets went out of business in mid-2017. The O’Malia family, which owns Brookshire Village Shoppes, opened a grocery store there in 1982 and operated it until 2001, when it sold its stores to Marsh.
Brainard said that Carmel’s Marsh stores were doing well when it filed for bankruptcy, and that issues at other Marsh locations led to the downfall of the entire company.
“When we talk to other grocery stores, we have to get beyond that and show them that this is a good location,” Brainard said, adding that he is aware of a bank wanting to move into the shopping center once a grocery anchor is announced.
Brainard said he is optimistic the private sector will fill the empty grocery space without financial assistance from the city.
“There are incentives a city could provide if necessary, but I’m hoping we don’t have to (use them) in that location,” he said.
The O’Malia family declined to comment as of press time.