Port Elizabeth Centre gets cosmetic upgrade

By William F. West

The Daily Advance

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Anyone seeing recent improvements to the Port Elizabeth Centre parking area need not get their hopes up about a possible new retail occupant for the former Walmart anytime soon.

City Manager Rich Olson said Friday he understands the California-based company in charge of the site is putting down new dark covering over the pavement, with new white stripes, as part of cosmetic improvements to the shopping facility.

Olson said he met with a new representative of the company, B.H. Properties of Los Angeles, approximately a month ago. Olson said that, to his and the municipal government’s knowledge, there are no plans for any major retailer to move into the former Walmart.

Olson also said that the work on the parking lot is not being done in preparation for a merchandising giant to locate on the property.

Attempts to reach officials with B.H. Properties were unsuccessful.

The former Walmart is occupied by the Coast Guard, which has been using the space to store aircraft parts. Port Elizabeth is on the east side of where Oak Stump Road meets Hughes Boulevard and Ehringhaus Street.

Walmart pulled out of Port Elizabeth in 2007 and relocated to a new super center at the Shoppes at Tanglewood at Bypass U.S. Highway 17 and Halstead Boulevard Extended.

B.H. Properties in 2006 acquired the Port Elizabeth property for $10.6 million from Woodrow W. Marlowe Jr., of Clarkton, which is southeast of Fayetteville. Marlowe had purchased the Port Elizabeth property in 2004 for $7.8 million.

The property’s small number of remaining tenants include an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, which sells closeout, salvage and surplus merchandise. Ollie’s also presently is the largest retailer on the property.