Gateway Center: Filling Vacancies In 'Unique' Mahwah Building
Property manager says 10 of the 15 spaces in the building are filled, or about to be filled
Though you may not know it when passing by, the Gateway Center on Franklin Turnpike is nearly filled. What started as a 7-Eleven and a bunch of vacant storefronts and office spaces a little over two years ago, has evolved into “a really unique spot in this area,” Property Manager Eric Levy said.
Levy said a “couple of different factors” is making the Mahwah complex attractive to new tenants. “The location is great. We are on Franklin Turnpike, and right on the border of New York and New Jersey,” he said. Levy also said the “fact that this is a brand new facility,” has been a big selling point.
In addition to the 7-Eleven, Cleaners, Nonna’s Pizza and Restaurant, and Shake & Sizzle that already occupy the bottom floor of retail spaces, Levy said other businesses are coming to the vacant spots. A nail salon was recently approved by Mahwah’s Planning Board to come to the center. And, Levy’s company, SLX Capital Management, and the Center’s owners, “are in talks with a national chain” to come to the Center.
“The lease is not inked, but we are confident that it will proceed,” Levy said. “The chain is one that we would be very happy to have here, and one that we think would greatly enhance the center both for other businesses that are already here, and for customers.”
That leaves one vacant spot on the bottom floor, which Levy said should eventually house another retail business.
The top floor, which is designed to house offices and other professional businesses, is only half full. Three tenants – Infinite Motion Performing Arts Academy, CI-Group (a marketing firm) and Attorney John D'Anton's office – are already in place, and Tri County ENT, an ear, nose and throat specialist, has signed a deal to move in.
According to Tri County’s Practice Manager Asterios Karavanas, that office should be ready to move in, “by the end of the month.” He said the private practice of Dr. Jayde Steckowych, which is currently located in a complex on Franklin Ave. in Ramsey, is excited to move to Mahwah, and specifically into the Gateway Center.
“As soon as I saw the space, I knew we should be here,” Karavanas said. “It is more centrally located for most of the patients we serve, it has all of the state-of-the-art features we were interested in, like being more energy efficient, it is aesthetically pleasing, a new building, and the top floor is handicapped accessible, which was important to us.” The practice manager, who said the office was in the Valley Regional Medical Center building in Mahwah before its six-year stint in Ramsey, said he thinks the space will be a “perfect fit” for the practice.
Four spaces on the top floor remain vacant, but Levy says that the management team is not worried about how long it will take to fill them. “Of course, when you have vacancies in your building, you are aware of that everyday and work to fill them,” he said. “But, that does not mean that we are not making careful decisions. There have been tenants who are great fits for the space, and others that didn’t work out for whatever reason, and we had to say ‘no.’”
According to Levy, the owners of the building are “not paralyzed by the economy. They are aware of it, and are making deals with our tenants because of that. But, no desperate decisions are being made in an effort to fill our empty spaces.”
Of the spaces that are left, one is finished and furnished, and the other three are bare, and can be "built out" to tenant specifications. Levy said that has been an attractive quality for some local offices.
Levy said he feels that there are many attributes of the building that will attract new businesses. “The set up is unique because it allows the businesses to feed off of one another. Professionals upstairs will get their clothes dry cleaned or pick up their coffee or lunch downstairs. It’s convenience for the offices and business for the retail shops.” According to Levy, other strip malls on Franklin Turnpike, like the A&P shopping center, are strictly retail.
According to Bob Patel, part owner and manager of the 7-Eleven, “we are growing slowly, but we are happy here.” Since opening in November of 2009, Patel says people in both Mahwah and Suffern, whose border is a few feet away from the Center, “know we’re here.”
Patel says he has a good relationship with the other business owners and professionals in the complex, and the fact that vacancies are getting filled is “encouraging in the poor economy.”
For Levy, keeping tenants in the building happy is as important as getting new businesses to come to the Mahwah complex. “We are extremely hands-on. We want to be proactive and maintain an environment that our tenants look forward to coming to everyday,” he said. “We work hard at that.”