'Sports Plaza' starts with Dunham’s Sports

Active retail space for active lives is coming to the Roanoke Valley with the rebranding and purchase of the former Farm Fresh building at Premier Station, which has led to the lease of a large portion of the complex to Dunham's Sports.

Nick Brown, president and broker in charge of NDB Commercial Real Estate in Raleigh, said he brokered the deal on the premise of creating a "Sports Plaza at Premier Station."

Brown said 56,388 feet of main space will be used by Dunham's Sports — the largest sporting goods chain in the midwest.

The company was founded in 1937 in Waterford, Mich., and features a full line of sporting goods and a variety of active and casual sports apparel and footwear in 16 states and 170 stores. "Along with Dunham's Sports, we are trying to build a theme that will host active shoppers and hopefully attract active tenants," Brown said. "These types of tenants could include everything from gyms, chiropractors, nail salons, hair salons, martial arts and an entire range of companies trying to attract active customers."

Brown said long believed this kind of project would be successful in the Roanoke Valley.

Demographics for the region, according to Brown, show within five miles of Premier Station there are more than 27,000 people with an average income of more than $48,000. Further, he said, Premiere Landing boasts retail sales of more than $6 million yearly. The area pulls from many regions in all directions from northern Virginia down the Eastern Seaboard.

Add the traffic on Interstate 95 and Highway 158, and Brown said there is good reason to believe this venture will succeed.

"I've always personally liked Roanoke Rapids," he said, adding he has been working on this project for many years. "I think it will do very well there."

Raleigh firm Sanderson Construction Inc. will act as contractor.

Steve Fitzpatrick, of Sanderson, said the company is already working. "We're already on the preliminary stuff," he said, adding he is talking with the building department this week.

Fitzpatrick said he will employ mostly local people — between 40 and 50. "We have a crew of contractors representing the best in the Roanoke Valley," he said. "It's just a matter of pulling the trigger." Brown said Halifax County Economic Development director Cathy Scott and Roanoke Valley Chamber President/CEO Allen Purser were beneficial in putting this venture together.

Brown said anyone interested in the project should call Nick or Chris Brown at 919-845-5155. He said general inquiries can hit "0" for any questions.

"We can offer anywhere from 1,400 square feet on the small end to 9,800 square feet on the large end and any range in between," Brown said. "We also have two outparcels for sale or lease." Brown expects Dunham's to take possession of the building in June and have the store open by mid-August.

He said the company asked to wait until they take possession before they reveal the number of jobs created and other information. According to Brown, the retail space's ownership partners are based in China, with a managing member based in Chapel Hill.

"Our firm, NDB Commercial Real Estate, handles all their real estate from acquisitions to leasing to development to management to disposition," Brown said.