Frontier Shopping Center up for sale

MARIETTA — The Frontier Shopping Center in Marietta is up for sale, although it’s continuing to welcome new businesses to the strip mall in the meantime.

In April the shopping center was listed for sale for $10,507,000, for the commercial parcels and buildings, with the listing boasting Giant Eagle as a staple, long-term anchor tenant.

“It’s been in the family for 60 years, but we also have investors elsewhere, and so there was a consensus to sell by a narrow margin,” said Ted Christy when asked about the sale recently. “Our company, Kris Mar, is a part-owner and we have other partners in Frontier… But these things take a long time to transpire and even if there was a transaction I don’t expect the management of the center to change. I’m happy to be an owner there and have stopped into many of the businesses.”

Aside from Giant Eagle, other tenants are Smoker Friendly, Joe Momma’s Kitchen, Dollar General, Frontier Barber, UPS, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Washington County Clerk of Courts Title Office, Curves, Comfort Keepers, Liberty Income Tax, Memorial Health System Therapy Services, Healthy Start Nutrition, Movement Fitness, Beihl-Hawn Insurance Agency and Subway.

That listing price is comparable to the previous sale of the Lafayette Center on Pike Street, according to Bob Kirkbride, who is consulting Ted Christy on the property since he has worked in commercial leasing and real estate for decades and formerly owned the Lafayette center with Frank Christy.

“For comparison, we sold Lafayette Center in December of 2005 for $9.5 million,” explained Kirkbride Tuesday. “There’s a whole family of commercial brokers in every major city in the nation with investors looking for shopping centers. At Frontier, the grocery back when it was Big Bear was the key to starting the shopping center construction.”

Kirkbride said a grocery store has been a staple in the center since January of 1957.

Brant Whited, co-owner of Movement Fitness, said he’s not worried about the sale of the commercial properties at this point.

“We’re another third of the real estate, and I think we have increased traffic to the area and lowered the bad influences and drug deals that were happening here in the unused lot before we came,” said Whited of the gym which has been in operation in the former Tractor Supply Company building at the back of the shopping center for a little more than a year now. “If this sells I don’t think it affects us a whole lot.”

Kirkbride agreed with Whited’s assessment, saying tenants of commercial real estate like Frontier often don’t see any immediate hits from a sale thanks to leasehold estates.

“A lot of commercial leases have a set primary term, and then the tenants have what are called options to renew or extend the lease another five years,” he explained.

Shane Byers, owner of Healthy Start Nutrition, spent her first full day open in the shopping center Tuesday, enjoying the added business from the other stories and access to more direct parking. “Now being close to the fitness center and in the same place as the title office and the BMV, plus the grocery store… I believed that would be a great opportunity for my business to grow,” she said. “My rent here is comparable to what I was paying on Front Street, and if we see more traffic from the shoppers and those working out at the gym we may consider staying open longer on Saturdays.”

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