FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Cumberland Farms is continuing to grow its presence in Florida after pulling back in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania following the sale of 27 of its convenience stores in those states. The chain has hired the recently formed Metro-Hall Retail LLC (MHR) to expand its newly launched c-store prototype from Fort Lauderdale to Melbourne, Fla.
The firm is managing six deals under construction and in the pipeline in Florida on behalf of Cumberland Farms.
The 1.5-two-acre sites in Florida include Lake Worth (2), Fort Pierce, Vero Beach (2) and Port St. Lucie.
MHR said that it expects the first two stores, in Lake Worth and Fort Pierce, to be complete this spring.
In 2014, MHR expects to deliver more than $20 million of c-store product in Florida. The firm is providing a complete suite of development services including market strategy, feasibility studies, budgets and scheduling, zoning, legal matters and preliminary construction.
In early March, two retail real-estate veterans announced the launch of MHR to offer retailers and service providers development, construction and advisory solutions throughout the United States. The team of Frank Hall and Mark Gottlieb brings a combination of national tenant and commercial development expertise to roll out retailer expansion plans throughout the United States from its dual headquarters in Atlanta and West Palm Beach, Fla.
"Although the market is picking up, retailers are seeking third-party solutions to ramp-up their expansion plans without rebuilding in-house teams," said Hall. "Metro-Hall pulls together the team required to complete the deal, from architects and engineers to legal and leasing--and then manages it throughout the entire development cycle."
Hall and Gottlieb bring more than seven decades of development and retail experience to the partnership. Hall served as executive vice president of retail real estate for JP Morgan Chase Bank and was responsible for branch openings at a time when Chase expanded annually by 150 locations. At CVS/pharmacy, he also developed and rolled out the national preferred developer program. He currently serves as lead consultant with Frank Hall Consulting in addition to MHR.
Since 1997, Gottlieb has led Atlanta-based MetroGroup Development in the development of more than three million square feet of retail, office and mixed-use projects for notable tenants including CVS/pharmacy, Family Dollar, Chase Bank and Zaxby's. Prior to MetroGroup, he managed a team responsible for $100 million in development activities at Branch Properties and opened 56 stores in two years for a startup retailer where he was involved in the initial public offering (IPO) and eventual sale of the company.
"Now more than ever, deals are tough. Frank and I formed Metro-Hall to serve as the glue that holds the deal together on a fast-track," said Gottlieb. "We understand retail development from both sides--the retailer and developer owner, so we are confident in our abilities to move projects along smoothly and efficiently and meet the needs of our clients along the way."
Cumberland Farms senior vice president and chief real estate officer Dino Dethomas said, "Cumberland Farms tapped Metro-Hall Retail in Florida for its combined expertise and reputation in both the development and retailer circles for seamlessly coordinating consultants and delivering a project in the most expeditious manner possible."
With approximately 600 locations, Framingham, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms is the largest c-store and gasoline marketer in the Northeast. Its network of retail stores, gas stations and a support system including petroleum and grocery distribution operations spans 11 states across the Northeast and Florida.