Impact of new Tuscaloosa shopping center on existing retail and - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Impact of new Tuscaloosa shopping center on existing retail and traffic

(Source: WBRC video) (Source: WBRC video)

Plans are moving forward for the new Shoppes at Legacy Park, a six-anchor shopping center near the intersection of 15th Street and McFarland Blvd. in Tuscaloosa.

Anchor stores announced for the development are Bed Bath & Beyond, The Fresh Market, DSW, PetSmart, Dick's Sporting Goods and World Market. This is an already busy part of Tuscaloosa, with heavy traffic and established retail.
City of Tuscaloosa Development Ombudsman Audrey Buck says with this new shopping center, the city hopes to further strengthen this area as a core part of Tuscaloosa and support existing retail. Buck said another goal is to keep revenue from leaving Tuscaloosa, and also to attract shoppers from across West Alabama and East Mississippi.

Other stores already located nearby include Target, Home Depot and Midtown Village, with stores like Best Buy, Old Navy, Loft and a number of restaurants.
University Mall has also been part of the area since 1980. Denise Connell, University Mall marketing manager and assistant property manager, says the mall welcomes its new neighbor. Connell says outdoor centers typically house a different mix of stores than enclosed malls, and the two make a good pair.

"The two kind of can help feed off of each other and you have cross shopping, and to have them all kind of conveniently located in the same intersection, from a customer's standpoint, I think that you'll see there will be a lot more of a complimentary relationship there," Connell said.
Connell also says having so-called "destination" stores, which can take shoppers outside the Tuscaloosa market, will support existing retailers.

"If that destination's here, then they're not going to spend residual dollars on you know, 'I'm going to stop and get something to eat, we're going to run in this other store that, you know, might be something we already have at home, because we're already there,' Connell said. "If they keep that one shopping trip here in town, then that's just going to be better for everybody."
City of Tuscaloosa Spokesperson Deidre Stalnaker said plans to manage traffic include widening and adding turn lanes at the McFarland and 15th Street intersection.

According to her, utility relocation has already begun and the road building contractor is set to begin immediately after the Iron Bowl at the end of November. The road project is scheduled to be complete in 240 working days.
Stalnaker said other traffic created by the nearby Lofts at City Center apartment development may be managed with a potential new traffic light on Veterans Memorial Parkway.

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