Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Kennys sell Adirondack Outlets

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

The Kenny family has sold its outlet properties including Adirondack Outlet Mall to Sobert Realty Corp. and the Shanus Family, which already owned the nearby The Outlets at Lake George.

Adirondack Outlet Mall, located at 1444 Route 9, sold for $9-million. 1468 Route 9, an empty building, sold for $3-million.

Adirondack Outlet Mall is home to L.L. Bean, Under Armour, Timberland, Famous Footwear, Artie’s Camping & More, and other retailers.

Stores at The Outlets at Lake George East and West range from Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach and Michael Kors to Columbia, Skechers and Adidas.

The Adirondack Outlet Mall sold for $9-million. The so far unoccupied plaza next door sold for $3-million.

“The East and West centers now are fully leased,” Sobert President Corey Shanus told The Chronicle Tuesday. “We’re trying to bring in good quality brands to Lake George. And we have no place to put them in those centers.”

Mr. Shanus said, “We think this is a great area, a growth market.”

“An opportunity came up to purchase these assets, which are right next to what we own, and we thought we’d take advantage of it.”

Laura Kohls, whose father Dave Kenny launched the Adirondack Outlet Mall, said her family sold the properties because “we have a lot of investments as a family in the market, in the area. We’ve been involved in the property along Route 9 and the Million Dollar Half Mile since 1978. And we just made a decision to refocus our interests on some other areas.”

“We had sold the Clarion [Inn] property the year before,” she noted, next door.

Lake George lodging is the primary family focus. In all, Mrs. Kohls said Kenny extended family members own 17 lodging properties — and around 1,000 rooms — in the Lake George area.

They include the Courtyard by Marriott, The Georgian Resort, The Inn At Erlowest, Marine Village Resort, Lakefront Terrace, Nordick’s Inn, The Admiral Motel, Tea Island Resort, Sun Castle Resort, Country Inn & Suites, the Lyn Aire Motel, Depe Dene Resort, The Heritage Motel, and the Park Lane Motel.

“By volume, The Marriott is the largest for sure,” Mrs. Kohls said. “The Georgian is the largest by room count.

“Nostalgia-wise, it was a little bit of a hard decision,” Mrs. Kohls said of the deci sion to sell the outlets. “But it’s still the right thing for our family at the time.”

“It was a good time to move forward for us, and I think for the Shanus family as well,” she said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, and it’ll be good for the whole market. Time for some reinvention, probably,” she laughed.

Mr. Shanus said Sobert is a “family business….We’ve had success so far and we think we can duplicate that down the road.”

He said, “What exactly we’re going to do at this point, we don’t know.”

“We’re going to figure out the best use to put to them and act accordingly, but that’s going to take some time.”

Sobert first bought the outlet mall that is now the “East Center” in 2012, “and we did an extensive rehab of it.”
“Then a year later we bought the Montcalm restaurant across the street and built the West Center,” he said.

He said they built the West Center as a “spec.” He said, “It took a while to fill it.”

“The market has its ups and downs. The Canadian dollar has been very weak, and that’s hurt the Canadian traffic, and of course, COVID hit which hurt everybody.”

Comparatively, the empty 1468 building they just bought was built as a “cold sell” — meaning “it’s built, but it has a long ways to go if you ever want to put somebody in there.”

Once they have a plan, he said, “we’re going to try to pre-lease a good portion of it, which will help us a lot with financing when we get to that point.”

He said they’ll find brands to occupy it and then present that plan to a bank.

Possibly entertainment, not stores

Mr. Shanus added, “It’s conceivable the entire project will not be outlets.”

“Retail is changing over the years,” he said. “The kinds of uses that are going into retail now, people weren’t thinking about years ago.”

Does that mean “experiential” businesses? “We call it, I guess, entertainment,” he said. “We’re not ruling anything out. The answer is, we don’t know.”

He said real estate trade journals are now suggesting entertainment uses in retail developments.

“I have no expertise in it, but we really want to learn, and do the right thing.

“So we’re going to find out about all these things, and ultimately figure out something that we think will really fit for the community,” he said.

Mr. Shanus said the Internet and other factors have altered the outlet business.

“What brick and mortar are, their role in the industry” is changing, he said.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to be relevant. That’s why you always have to keep an open mind to see what the market is telling you people want.”

Mr. Shanus said, “It’ll be a big project” that’s not imminent. “In my business” he said, “you really want to take it step by step and do things well thought out, and know what you want to construct. If I buy a good piece of property, but I build the wrong thing, what have I gained?”

He said, “You really have to be careful and hire the right people and do good market studies and consult with the neighborhood, the community, the local boards and get a game plan,” he said.

Sobert Realty is based in Purchase, New York, in Westchester County.

Mrs. Kohls said the Kenny “business was positive” in 2023.

How does it compare to prior years?

“I’m most heavily involved in the Marriott and the Marine village,” she said. “And we were about even for the summer.”

“The fall shoulder season was stronger at the Courtyard,” versus previous years, she added.

“We wish the best for both the family that purchased the Clarion last year and of course the Shanus family now,” Mrs. Kohls said.

“We’re still Warren County residents and we’re still going to be here for a long time, and we want what’s best for the whole area,” she said.

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