Friday, January 23, 2009

Atlas Park Benched


A letter emailed to me this week - which I didn't open until this morning.

The above basically says Damon Hemmerdinger is out as manager of Atlas Park leasing, and corporate will take over from France. It is effective in mid-February. Outgoing quote:

"I believe in Atlas Park and I believe that the residents of Queens want, deserve, and can support high-quality, aspirational retail, restaurants and entertainment."

It's a terrible day for Atlas Park, as you can bet incoming stores will solely be judged by who's willing to pay the highest per square foot.

Corporate: Let's see, I can get Frankie's - a toy store selling creative wooden toys with an embedded child-friendly hair salon willing to pay $35 per square foot - or I can get a Blimpie who'll pay $40.

So, it looks like Atlas Park haters (who I'll never understand) get their wish and the unique, upscale open-air center will become filled with cheapo crap, signed by a company five thousand miles away. Or maybe all the stores will close - now that's something to celebrate.

Hemmerdinger's Future:

Though the letter sounds remorseful, this is the best thing to happen to him. I would expect him to begin what would be a successful career in politics. He's got the money, the look, the lineage, and the community ties. All that was holding back was his constant concern about holding shopping center tenants to a higher standard. Now he doesn't have to worry about that anymore.