Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Atlas Park to be under new management

An open letter from Damon Hemmerdinger:

49 comments:

Jason in Kew Gardens said...

Maybe some more stores worth patronizing will open up. Right now they have about five in the entire mall.

Anonymous said...

I think its sad- the property and its owners had a vision for better things for this area- and im sad to see them go. Hopefully the mall will stay open and flourish

Anonymous said...

The property did not have vision. The owner did, and he blew it. Happens all the time in business.

Anonymous said...

Too bad it was not appreciated for what it was. A beautiful place to shop and eat.

Maybe those that trashed it and did not patronize it will get what they wanted....John's Bargain Stores.

Now watch what happens!

slick said...

aww so bad...

it wasn't doing very well in peak times, its doing even worse in a recession.

Retail and car dealerships are getting murdered.

what can you do? hope they lower rents and have some more basic stores like a Gap, Apple store, Whole Foods, J crew, etc

Kevin Walsh said...

It'll be fedders condos in a year or two.

www.forgotten-ny.com

Anonymous said...

This is VERY SERIOUS news.They must have decided this dramatic aboutface in order to cut their losses. This amounts to a `foreclosure' by its underwriter over in France It's too bad the economy tanked just as this complex started to take shape.

Queens Crapper said...

More from the Times Ledger.

Anonymous said...

The real news is that the REST of the property is going to be developed!!! By the same gang of idiots who failed with the mall? Repeat: failed!

CntrySigns said...

The mall doesn't have a good mix of shops. There not 1 plus size store, there's no electronic store. I'm not saying they have to be big chains just well rounded selections. The rents are way to high. Even Starbucks is leaving in March because they can't afford it.

Also I personally don't think an Apple Store would be a bad thing. They provide educational classes as well as carry a wide rage of products. It would bring more people to the mall.

georgetheatheist said...

Just curious. Why was the mall named after Atlas?

Anonymous said...

It's a nice mall design but with poor mix of stores or no stores to go to. Parking was always an issue where it could have been used as an effective tool to draw shoppers if it was free. The creditors will put a new management Co. in place and hopefully one with extensive retail experience to revitalize the Mall.

Anonymous said...

Borders is a wonderful place, and I hope it stays. But otherwise...dopes. I fear that foreign management will have zero concern for our concerns (not that the Humdingers ever did!.)

Miles Mullin said...

Remember the following rule in Queens:

In Brooklyn or Manhattan a bodega becomes a Zabars.

In Queens, a Zabars becomes a bodega.

A shining example of what this borough could have been if the two bit crooks and third rate talent did not run it into the ground.

Considering the element they attract here, Main St and Jamaica Ave is about what Queens can handle.

Expect the worst.

Anonymous said...

Atlas is in the middle of nowhere.

Any aspiring 2 year old real estate mogul knows all about that sacred mantra "LOCATION,LOCATION, LOCATION"!

This mall was doomed to failure from its very inception.

Now it's time move on Dale...
or back to sitting on daddy's lap!

Without providing any real substantial ATTRACTION which might have lured shoppers to a remote farm field, business grinds to a sharp halt...and that's sad.

Our bad economy will offer
little opportunity for a brighter future regarding such badly planned ventures like Atlas Park.

slick said...

i think what they went wrong is with the parking.

They had ample parking that never filled up yet they wanted a premium.

If that is the case i might as well take a 10 minute drive to manhasset

Anonymous said...

I like the Atlas Mall, for the food at least. Pasticcio, CPK, Chilis, Johnny Rockets, and Stone Cold Creamery have all seen my busienss. NONE of the shops have.

Why wold i want to buy a $250 sweater? Or a bottle of wine flavored water for my dog (yes, an actual item in the pet store there)?


If they bring in some store that are more useful (Gap, Electronics store, a Victoria's Secret, etc), the place would take off.

Gentleman Jack said...

Now that it is in the hands of its foreign creditors, who knows what will happen. Do 2 French banks care about the community?

I hope they can turn it around but keep the peaceful park-like atmosphere of the place intact.

CntrySigns said...

Anonymous said...
Atlas is in the middle of nowhere.

I know a lot of people in this area that take their cars and drive to other malls and shops that have better selections. If Atlas had a better selection people would come. I own my own business and know you need to have a selection of low, middle and high end product for people to choose from. No choices mean people people will go somewhere else.
Plus...
They are right along the Long Island Rail Road, they need to take some of their own land and let LIRR put a station there. Glendale used to have a stop but no one even knew it was there.

Anonymous said...

I heard they are going to build a Costco.

Anonymous said...

CntrySigns - there may have not been a plus size store but there was a gym.... think about that.

Anonymous said...

It's a gravy topping for dog food in a wine bottle. You should read. It's clear from what I read on these blogs, and that is not often, that dogs are smarter and kinder than people. Most of you are just mean and have no concern or real interest in your community. Many of the stores owners here are neighborhood people who could lose everything. They work hard and long hours and have tried to give this community a well needed boost. For all of you who complain that the stores have no variety and that we need a Gap, Victoria's Secret, etc. you have no idea how business works. These stores did not want to come to Glendale. They didn't believe it was a viable demographic. Many major chains were approached and the majority said no immediately and the one's who sent scouts felt the negativity that all of you bring and decided against building. Shame on you. I will not blog again because personally I work very hard and have no time for this queens crap and if it is one thing I wish for all you mean spirited glendale residents is to get your children back because you will have no where to send them do be destructive and rude. The majority of them have filty mouths and have no regard for others. They can now sit on your doorstep.

Anonymous said...

The major chain stores did not want to come to Atlas Park because they weren't targeted and the rents Damon was charging were ridiculous. Yet, these same stores are thriving at Queens Center where there is a "viable demographic" with less disposable income?

Anonymous said...

You don't know what you are talking about. Almost every major chain was targeted and refused to build. They may look like they are thriving at Queens Center, but all is not what it seems. It's funny that people will travel to Target to save $2, but pay $6 for parking 2 hrs and not complain. The community has gotten what it wished for. Go to the other malls who don't give a crap about you . Damon tried to bring concerts and a safe place for your babies to play in the summer. beauty in the winter and a community meeting place that was safe. yet all you can say is how stupid or spoiled he is. his family worked for their money and the jealousy that is apparent on this site is from a group that probably has never taken a risk or worked to achieve a dream in their life. Be happy. Now we have a bank that doesn't give a crap about you either.

Anonymous said...

Damon Hemmerdinger doesn't live in the community and only cared about making money off it. He rerouted bus lines that no one wanted rerouted and never listened to any advice that was given to him about changes people wanted to see. Remember: The customer is always right, and the customer rejected this place. Instead of blaming the community, Damon, blame your sad self for being a failure.

Anonymous said...

I have never written on this blog before but feel the need to, Why is there so much anger? Ive read for years how many people on this blog wished for Atlas to fall, so why be mad that the Hemmerdingers are no longer involved? Why be mad that wishes came true and that he is no longer involved. How anyone could live in this community and look at atlas park and have such hatred I dont understand. even if the stores were not what you wanted, even if the restaurants were not where you wanted to eat, even if you do not ever go to see a movie in the theatre, how does it being there make you ANGRY? Make you take time out of your lives and heart and the time you spend with your family and make you FURIOUS? How can any person's misfortune make you happy and gloat (mind you not only Damons- but all the tenants there who opened there out of their choosing and belief in the mall)? I simply dont get it. If running a shopping center, if being a developer, if being a boss and a landlord and a leaser were as simple as some of you act like it is, then everyone should do it. Everyone should stop writing nasty hateful things and walk away from your computer, go out there and make millions doing it, because there is an obvious train of thought here that everyone knows what should have been done and seems to believe it is SO easy and simple and that they could have done it better.

Anonymous said...

Its a shame about what is happening to Atlas Park. I don't understand the problem of parking and transportation when the neighborhood I live in has an abundance of cars. I enjoyed going to a mall that has some pretty cool high end boutique stores. It saved me the stress and time going to the city. It is unfortunate that Atlas Park is still growing during economic stress. I think if this mall attracts any stores remotely close to Queens Mall, I would definitely be going to Manhattan more often.

Anonymous said...

Hello to all,

Just a few notes:

1. The owners of the shops are your neighbors who LOVE Queens and will lose everything if the mall fails.

2. Damon was removed because he was trying to HELP the TENANTS.

3. Small businesses are the backbone & fabric of America.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for them for believing that Queens deserves better. To gloat and enjoy someones misfortune is truly sad.

B. Marie Pointer said...

Maybe with the Hemmerdingers gone, Atlas Park will attract some reTAILers with affordable clothing.

Anonymous said...

"1. The owners of the shops are your neighbors who LOVE Queens and will lose everything if the mall fails."

The owners of the shops mostly live and raise their kids elsewhere. They are making money off the people in Queens and nothing more.

"2. Damon was removed because he was trying to HELP the TENANTS."

I have heard nothing but horror stories about the management of Atlas Park and how they treated the businesses there.

"3. Small businesses are the backbone & fabric of America."

I agree. Unfortunately, almost every store and restaurant at Atlas is part of a franchise chain.

Anonymous said...

"Ive read for years how many people on this blog wished for Atlas to fall, so why be mad that the Hemmerdingers are no longer involved?"

Don't think you've read "for years" about how people wished Atlas to fail. When Atlas opened, people liked it. It was around mid-2007 when they announced they were going to reroute the first bus to the mall that people started to get annoyed. Then they rerouted a second and pissed off local community groups. Damon chose to play politics instead of listen to his customers who were supporting his mall. He got what was coming to him and hopefully the new management can identify what people in the area want and need and the mall will be a success.

Anonymous said...

The people who have complained about Atlas are just miserable in their lives and jealous of people who are not losers. If this mall fails, it is a terrible reflection of the people in the area - they would rather have junk stores than places with tasteful and mid-range options. Sad.

Anonymous said...

That's right, it couldn't possibly be about the economy or poor management skills. Blame the community!

Maspethian said...

I hate overdevelopment and agree with many things on this blog. I didnt like the fact that Hemmerdinger got mucho perks most other developers would never get (I know this - about curb cuts and all sorts of other things).

But I did like to go there. There was room to breathe. Maybe the reasons I liked it were the reasons it failed - no overcrowding, etc. I know they tried to attract the larger stores but couldn't. I'll really miss the Borders.

Queens Crapper said...

Maspethian - the place is not closing. It's just under new management.

Anonymous said...

I feel very sorry for the people who have so much hate in their hearts to wish anyone ill will in these tough economic times. The Shops at Atlas Park was a well-conceived and comfortable place to shop, eat, meet friends and enjoy some green in an otherwise ugly community. Not only did the Hemmerdingers try to improve the community, they took a lot of garbage from all of you while doing it. All the major retailers were contacted including Gap, Apple, Sony, Guess and many others but they saw how challenging it might be to bring you their customer here. It isn't as easy as you might think to lease and manage a mall with so much competition within close proximity. If it was so easy, why hasn't everyone done it. Why are there so many major developers failing. The Hemmerdingers are a success in my book. They worked with the local community to bring a mix of local, regional and national stores and restaurants. They had numerous events and promotions to enhance your life. Now is not the time to beat someone down. Sure you might be jealous of their success but they earned it... and work very hard to maintain it and in the meantime care about the community. They are kind and considerate neighbors of yours and you don't deserve them. You will now have to live with a foreign company managing the property. They will not care what you want or what stores work... only the bottom line... Money.

Anonymous said...

"The Shops at Atlas Park was a well-conceived and comfortable place to shop, eat, meet friends and enjoy some green in an otherwise ugly community."

See, this contempt for its surroundings is exactly why Damon didn't get very far.

"All the major retailers were contacted including Gap, Apple, Sony, Guess and many others but they saw how challenging it might be to bring you their customer here."

It's funny, I recall about a year ago there was all this press about how stores were lining up to sign on but apparently that was all a bunch of B.S. and now the truth comes out.

"You will now have to live with a foreign company managing the property. They will not care what you want or what stores work... only the bottom line... Money."

No, you have the new company confused with the Hemmerdingers, who used that business model and failed. I doubt their mistakes will be repeated.

Anonymous said...

i own a store in atlas and 1st and foremost would like to thank damon for building such a beautiful , magical place for queens residents i have lived in glendale my whole life went to 113 and 119 when this place was factories my friends and i use to break in and play man hunt seeing what this place became inspired me to do better i along with most retailers here wanted to stay within our community to live our dreams it's sad to read all these negative postings

Anonymous said...

For all you people that keep blaming poor managment skills, yes marketing was not at it's best, but I would like to know what managemnt skills you have that make you think running a project this size would be easy. As far as getting the anchor stores, what you don't realize is that they did not want to come to GLENDALE. This is fact. Many were approaced and did not think the customer base was there. I am a Hemmerdinger fan and I give the man credit for trying to follow through on a dream of a nice place for the neighbors to gather. He may not be a Glendale resident, but he is a Queens resident and regardless of the fact that he has money, he brought many nice events to this neighborhood and the concept is beautiful. Most bloggers on this site have no clue about real business and the rest that complain they would not pay $200 for a t-shirt will be lining up for those t-shirts when they are part of the going out of business sale. Then they can make believe they have money, and stop whining about those that do.

Anonymous said...

Here's something I don't understand - if the retailers didn't want to come to Glendale in the first place, why was the mall built? Wasn't there any market research done when this project was in its conceptual phase? And why did the expensive "boutique" stores sign on but the lower end stores stay away if they both understood the demographics of Glendale?

Anonymous said...

Stores actually were in place until, many with letters of intent. The developer did his job, but as time went on and the stores looked further at the community support and traffic to the stores already there, they backed out.

Anonymous said...

I suppose all of those people who complain about the shops and the buses, and gleefully celebrate the departure of the Hemmerdingers would be happier if the property were to revert to its former state; an ugly, semi-dilapidated maze of early- to mid-20th century brick industrial buildings with all of the truck traffic that went along with it. No? I didn't think so.

The Hemmerdingers are a kind and caring family who wanted to bring an "oasis" of sorts to Glendale. Despite the logistical obstacles of a difficult location, the market research indicated that the area had the potential to support Atlas Park, so they persevered (no doubt at great personal expense). Despite the nasty stereotypes that some people like to perpetuate here, it wasn't "all about the money". It was an honest effort to improve the quality of life in Queens.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they shouldn't have opened a mall with only a handful of tenants in place. And they wonder why they had little foot traffic?

Anonymous said...

The Shops at Atlas Park is a great place to shop, eat or go for a stroll. I am sad for Mr. Hemmerdinger who clearly put his heart and soul into the development of it. He had a vision and went for it. Kudos to you. In the end, all will work out.
And, I totally disagree with the statement that Jamaica Ave and Main Street is all that Queens residents can handle. Not this Queens resident and many others in my circle.

Anonymous said...

The local newspapers sugar coat the story once again. This time, Crain's NY (Feb 2, 2009) adds some details: "Shopping Mall Emptying Out. The upscale suburban-style shopping promenade at Atlas Park could be in danger of becoming a ghost town, as stores close and banks take over property... Launched at the peak of the market, the mall lasted under three years before DEFAULTING LAST MONTH ON A $128 MILLION LOAN from two French banks (Societe Generale and Calyon). They are scheduled to bring in new management in February."

..."Effective Feb. 19, the project's lenders will take over from New York developer Damon Hemmerdinger, who is president of Atco Properties & Management, and part of the Hemmerdinger real estate empire. He recently defaulted on a loan payment on the project that was due to French banks Societe Generale and Calyon, according to sources."

Finally someone used the D word. DEFAULTed on their loan. No surprise they "will no longer manage the property." They are the owner and another legal entity of theirs "manages" the property (they own. It's real estate business tactic of double dipping, used in good company (profitable) and bad company (dump expenses here and created paper losses) reporting. Personally for them and their friends they profit. On paper they have losses.

The elder Hemmerdinger helps run the MTA which can't manage it's finances properly, why should junior be any better. Doesn't the MTA hide it books? cry poverty, then raise prices, then find money, then cry poverty, (repeat cycle over and over)?

I'm sure they won't lose the property. At least, for now, they lose their "management revenue."

Every real estate developer will tell you their golden rule: "use leverage" (use other people's money). They've owned the land for decades, cleaned it up a bit, but financed the build. Oh well, the two foreign banks get stiffed. Leverage is starting to melt the commercial real estate market. It will continue into 2010. This is just one of the early failures in our area. Stay tuned - more to follow all throughout NYC.

It will be interesting to see what transpires next. Perhaps the new management company will ask two important questions: 1) walk our "Avenues" and ask the residents of MV and Glendale - what do you need and want in terms of retail? 2) to the shoppers of Forest Hills - why didn't you keep this place alive?

Don't pull up a Claritas report on our area and think you know the demographics - the reports are not always accurate. We're not that kind of neighborhood, and our neighboring communities don't want to shop here.

If you default on your debt - you should lose your asset. Learn your lesson - and most importantly, never do it again.

Anonymous said...

Today the Mattone Group announced in the NY Post it is the new management company for Atlas Park. Just a refresher, they built Jamaica Center. Now maybe all of you Hemmerdinger haters will finally find a comfortable and affordable place to shop.

Anonymous said...

If it means retailers such as "National Amusements, Bally's Total Fitness, The Gap, Gap Kids, Old Navy, Walgreens and other national brand tenants" then that sounds like a step in the right direction. AP already has a gym and movie theater, so they are one step ahead of the game.

Anonymous said...

Claire's,Jhonny Rockets and regal were the only hopping and popping places. now with this economic downfall,these guys doing the same thing everybody else is doing. not a damn thing.

Anonymous said...

They should convert it into affordable housing like Christine Quin wants