Stonefield buyer issues statement on purchase

Four years after the first stores opened at The Shops at Stonefield, the upscale shopping center has a new owner, New York-based development firm O’Connor Capital Partners.

“The plan is to bring in more key tenants that aren’t already represented in the market and that have made The Shops at Stonefield the preeminent retail destination in the region,” said O’Connor Capital spokesperson Mitch Breindel, who declined to comment on specifics of the deal until after Jan. 1.

Stonefield was previously owned by Edens development firm, and includes anchor stores Pier 1, Trader Joe’s and Costco as well as dozens of smaller boutiques and restaurants including Rock Salt, Parallel 38 and Mission BBQ.

One immediate challenge for Stonefield’s new owner will be filling vacancies. According to the O’Connor Capital website, 28,000 square feet is available at Stonefield including the former Blue Ridge Mountain Sports space that fronts Seminole Trail.

Several store owners and managers said they agree that filling empty spaces is a priority, and the founder of Whimsies children’s clothing and toy store, Betsy Lynn, said she has another suggestion: more signage to help customers locate the businesses they want to visit.

“I think some kind of directory when they pull in telling you where the stores are would be great,” said Lynn, adding that she has been encouraged by the communications with O’Connor representatives. “I think the new owners are really excited about doing some of those things.”