Apple Tree Mall Faces New Ownership – Auction Jan. 27

While a Londonderry landmark is scheduled for auction at the end of the
month, its management team is looking for ways to keep it as a shopping
option.
St. Jean Auctions of Epping announced earlier this month that the Appletree
Mall off Route 102 will be auctioned Jan. 27 at 1 p.m.
The 191,105-square-foot retail shopping plaza is less than a mile from Exit
4, sees an average daily traffic count of 32,000, and is commercially-zoned.
Its major tenant is Shaw’s Supermarket. Other businesses in the area are
Benson’s Hardware, a workout club and a movie theater, none of which are on
the property to be auctioned. The mall is 47 percent occupied by 14 tenants,
according to St. Jean’s summary, and was built in 1982.
The plaza suffered a hit last year when T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods relocated to
the new Market Basket Plaza, according to Ian Wood, one of the principals in
Renwood, the Peabody, Mass. management company. “We have had a hard time
filling TJ’s spot,” Wood said in a phone interview Wednesday. “That is the
reason.”
His company has been managing the plaza for more than 30 years, and news of
the auction “came out of the blue,” according to Wood.
T.J. Maxx was a good co-anchor for Shaw’s and was doing well, with sales
rising every year, Wood said. He’s still surprised the company chose to
move, noting, “Usually if it isn’t broken, you don’t fix it.”
Most of the big-box stores are settled where they are and won’t be moving,
Wood said.
It is a “strange time” in retail, Wood added. While Londonderry’s commercial
district is well-situated off Route 93, it’s also stuck between Nashua,
Salem and Manchester, which offer some of the same shops and services. Even
Derry has gotten into the act with a couple of big-box options, he said.
Coffeeberries and Lindt Chocolate are staying along with some of the other
specialty businesses, Wood said. But he’d really like to find another anchor
store and draw more foot traffic, he added.
Between now and the 27th, his company will continue to explore options.
“It’s a stressful situation,” Wood acknowledged, adding, “We hope to hang on
to it. We’ve had a good relationship with the mall and the town all these
years.”

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