CINCINNATI - Nadeau, a California-based company that imports “furniture with a soul” from India and China, is building its first Cincinnati store at 7400 Kenwood Road.
Scheduled to open by year-end, the 4,800-square-food store offers handmade wooden end tables, desks, shelving and storage units, along with the occasional decorative Buddha. It’s the 29th store by founder Tom Nadeau, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur who started as a furniture wholesaler and travels the globe looking for unique pieces.
Nadeau is the latest in a string of new-to-market tenants drawn to Sycamore Township in the last 12 months – and a sign that the newly opened Liberty Center will not soon overtake Kenwood as the region’s strongest retail hub.
“The Kenwood market is still the king,” said John Heekin, a veteran Cincinnati retail broker and principal of Source 3 Development.
At least eight retailers have opened or announced plans to enter the Cincinnati market at Kenwood, including Vineyard Vines, a Martha’s Vineyard-based fashion retailer that opened its second Ohio location Nov. 13 at Kenwood Towne Centre.
“Vineyard Vines is a real coup for Kenwood. That’s a store that other tenants pay attention to,” Heekin said. “It’s a very well known company, very strong online. They’re known for being choosy in how they pick their real estate.”
Other first-to-market retailers attracted to Kenwood in the last year are:
- Fabletics, an active wear retailer co-founded by actress Kate Hudson, opened a Kenwood Towne Centre store this month.
- Pottery Place, a paint-it-yourself pottery shop, opened its sixth store at Kenwood Towne Centre Nov. 1.
- Outdoor retailer L.L. Bean will open a 15,000-square-foot store at The Kenwood Collection by fall 2016. The 100-employee store will feature an Outdoor Discovery School where shoppers can get introductory lessons on kayaking, paddle boarding, archery and fly casting.
- Kenwood Collection also snagged Cincinnati’s first 365 by Whole Foods Market, a discount-grocery concept by the Austin, Texas-based organics retailer. Its 30,000-square-foot store is slated to open by the first quarter of 2017.
- Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, a North Carolina-based furniture retailer, plans to open a 13,000-square-foot Signature Store in 2016.
- Pizzeria Locale, a fast-casual pizza concept backed by Chipotle, will open its first Cincinnati store at Sycamore Plaza by early next year. A second location is under development in Deerfield Township.
General Growth Properties Marketing Manger Cindy Hart said the mall will announce more first-to-market retailers early next year.
“Kenwood Towne Centre currently offers the shopper over 55 stores that are unique in the market,” Hart said. “The addition of unique retailers at Kenwood Collection adds to the synergy for the entire area.”
Liberty Center's top leasing official, Steiner + Associates Executive Vice President Anne Mastin, declined to comment for this story.
Real estate pros never expected Kenwood’s drawing power to fade with the development of Liberty Center, a $350 million mixed-use development in Butler County that landed several new-to-market restaurants and retailers. Those include Kona Grill, Pies & Pints, accessories retailer Kendra Scott and Celebrate Local, which sells products from Ohio-based small businesses.
For retailers “coming to southwest Ohio, Kenwood is and probably always will be one of the trade areas they want to go to first,” said Casey Ward, a partner at Midland Retail.
The reason is sales volume. Kenwood Towne Centre leads the region in sales per square foot. When he last checked a few months ago, Ward said he was told by a knowledgeable source that Kenwood tenants now generate more than $750 per square foot. That’s more than double most shopping centers in the region, he said.
While Kenwood’s drawing power remains strong, it’s by no means historic, said Heekin, a former vice president at Towne Properties, which owned Kenwood Towne Centre in the 1980s.
“We had a waiting list,” he said. “We had as many as 50 or 60 people that weren’t in Cincinnati that we knew would come here if they found (vacant space) in our mall.“