Speculation that a Trader Joe’s grocery store was coming to Louisville picked up again last week. As always, the company would not confirm anything. That’s still the case, but the Insider Louisville has found a leak in the story.

Rosemary Nunn, manager of the Craftsman Collection furniture store in Shelbyville Road Plaza, said she and her staff were notified by Hagan Properties executives their expiring lease will not be renewed because Trader Joe’s is taking the space on the northeast side of the center.

Trader Joe’s also will displace Kiddie Castle and Massage Envy, which flank the Craftsman Collection store.

“We were told to be out by February 28,” Nunn told Insider Louisville. “But, (Hagan Properties) has given us an extension till mid-March.”

Here’s the deal.

According to Nunn, Trader Joe’s wanted the former Wild Oats location about 200 yards south, and deeper into the center, a space vacated after Whole Foods bought Wild Oats in 2007.

Trouble is, Whole Foods still owns that lease, and they’re stipulating Hagan Properties can’t lease to a competitor.

Trader Joe’s executives then tried to lease the vacant Circuit City space on the west side of Shelbyville Road Plaza, Nunn said.

But that deal fell through because the Circuit City space is too close to the existing World Market, which has an adjoining package-liquor sales with a separate entrance, an arrangement that complies with Kentucky’s arcane alcoholic beverage sales laws.

Trader Joe’s is huge into wines, with good California wines on the top end, and Charles Shaw “Two-Buck Chuck” brand on the bottom.

So, Trader Joe’s settled for its third choice on the northeast side – a huge coup for Hagan Properties, which has had its own problems, including the fact that the firm spent $7 million to reconfigure the center in early 2008, the same year mega-tenants such as Circuit City and Linen N’Things liquidated, leaving Shelbyville Road Plaza more than 50-percent vacant.

 

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