Business

After outbidding Big Lots, here's what landlord says is next for Durham Toys R Us

The landlord of the Toys R Us Durham location said that Hamrick's will replace the toy seller in South Square.
The landlord of the Toys R Us Durham location said that Hamrick's will replace the toy seller in South Square. Google Street View

The landlord of bankrupt retailer Toys R Us’ Durham location is hoping to name a new tenant soon, after successfully winning control of the building in an auction.

Samco Properties — which beat out discount retailer Big Lots for the control of the Toys R Us lease — said it is already in discussion with multiple parties about the future of the Toys R Us building, as well as the redevelopment of the store’s parking lot, said Sam Spiegel, president of Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Samco.

Spiegel declined to reveal what parties were interested in the property.

Samco paid $800,000 for the remainder of the lease after a back-and-forth auction with Big Lots last week. Big Lots put the first bid on the building's lease at $500,450 before pulling out of the auction when the price hit $800,000, Spiegel said.

The leases were being auctioned off as part of Toys R Us bankruptcy dealings. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy six months ago after racking up around $8 billion in debt. Earlier this year, the retailer announced it was planning to sell or close all 800 of its U.S. stores, a move that affected as many as 33,000 jobs.

The Durham store began liquidating its inventory at the end of March.

Spiegel said he expects to have control of the building by April 16 and find a new tenant in the next two weeks. He is considering splitting the 47,300-square-foot building to share with two tenants.

He also wants to add a quick-service restaurant to one of the outer parcels in the parking lot facing Westgate Drive.

Spiegel declined to say when the Toys R Us lease was set to expire, adding that any new tenant would have new terms.

Spiegel, through Durham Westgate Plaza Investors LLC, owns the buildings at Westgate Plaza shopping center. Wells Fargo owns the land underneath the buildings on a long-term ground lease. Westgate Plaza Investors has owned the Toys R Us building since 1999.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes
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