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Healthy Home Market South End location closing next year

healthy home market
JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
The Healthy Home Market on South Boulevard will be closing its doors sometime next year to make way for redevelopment, the property’s owner said Monday. The existing building will be knocked down, and the rebuilt one likely will be too expensive for the locally- owned health food market, the owner said.

The Healthy Home Market location on South Boulevard will close next summer, officials say, and the building will be torn down to make way for redevelopment.

Marsh Properties, which owns the Sedgefield Shopping Center where the locally owned health food grocer operates one of its four locations, says it plans to tear down the aging South End building and redevelop the property. The center has a second building across Elmhurst Road, but it’s unclear whether that building also will be torn down.

John Bauer, president of the four Charlotte-area Healthy Home Market stores, said the Sedgefield store will shut down sometime next summer after 10 years at the location. The lease is up this spring, he said, but Marsh Properties isn’t renewing it. Marsh is allowing Healthy Home Market, formerly The Home Economist, to stay while it arranges its next move.

“We were there before the (light) rail and have enjoyed being there and building with the community,” Bauer said. “We’re very disappointed to have to leave.”

Marsh Properties President Jamie McLawhorn said that given all the growth in the area, it’s time to redevelop the property. While declining to discuss specifics, he said the firm wants to build something more in line with the new development coming to the area.

The shopping center’s history stretches back to the late 1940s, he said.

The lease rates for the new property might not work for a locally owned grocer such as Healthy Home Market, McLawhorn said.

“We’ve enjoyed having them there and in some ways we hate to see them go, but unfortunately they just weren’t a good fit” for the redevelopment project, he said.

Monthly retail lease rates in that part of Charlotte average $22.53 per square foot, down from $22.61 last year, according to Karnes Research, which studies the city’s commercial real estate market.

Asked about the likely increase in lease rates, Bauer said his company’s discussions with Marsh Properties never got to that point. “We were told he needed a publicly traded big company to move in there, not a local company like ours. We were not given that opportunity.”

McLawhorn said his firm is working on landing new tenants, but nothing’s definite. He also said Marsh Properties is still studying whether the second shopping center building should also be torn down.

Bauer said he had already been planning to expand to the Plaza Midwood neighborhood before learning the South Boulevard location was in jeopardy. He said the newest store, planned for an existing shopping center on Central Avenue that includes a Family Dollar store and Bistro La Bon restaurant, could open sometime next summer.

That location will essentially replace the South End location, he said. He’d wanted stores in both locations.

“Certainly this is not our choice,” Bauer said of the South End location’s closing. “The (Sedgefield) building is in good shape. We’ve done well there. But such is life, I guess.”

Frazier: 704-358-5145; Twitter: @Ericfraz
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