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By Bill Freehling
Couple works to keep shopping center alive
Bill and Christine Jones have spent much of the past two years struggling to keep their strip shopping center off State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County afloat.
The couple own the multi-tenant building next to the former Ukrop's store, which closed in early 2010. After that anchor tenant closed at 4250 Plank Road, many of the businesses that leased space in the Joneses' adjacent building followed suit.
Since then the Joneses have opened or taken over several businesses in their center, including a burger restaurant and hair and tanning salons. This week they opened Echo Consignments next to their CA Tan business at 4262 Plank Road. They cut a rent-friendly deal with local restaurateur Steve Estes to open an eatery called Durango Grill in the former home of Big Burger Pub. They want Spotsylvania to lower their tax assessment given the difficult situation.
What will bring the center back to life, the Joneses believe, is a new tenant for the 63,000-square-foot former Ukrop's space.
That could take awhile. Other than churches and businesses seeking short-term space, few have shown interest in subleasing the vacant space from Ukrop's, said S.L. Nusbaum broker Read Goode Jr.
Ukrop's has a lease that runs into 2017 for the building, which is owned by New York-based real estate investment trust Cedar Shopping Centers Inc.