Local Developer Brings Old Shopping Centers Back to Life
Drive around Chandler and you will probably notice one name prominently displayed over and over again on a number of shopping centers.
The Pollack name in the signs refers to Michael A. Pollack, President and Founder of Pollack Investments.
In addition to sharing his name, these shopping centers all have another key thing in common: They were all renovated by Pollack, which in many cases has led to an increase in tenancy and more tax revenue going to the city of Chandler but, most importantly, pride has been restored to the neighborhoods.
“I’m confident that I have done more renovations of existing commercial properties than anyone else in the city of Chandler. In my career I’ve been involved in more than 10 million square feet of real estate properties—and many of those projects have been in Chandler,” Pollack says, adding that several of his redevelopment properties have been along what has now been branded by the City of Chandler as the Uptown Chandler Corridor.
Pollack is quick to point out that the city’s Economic Development Director, Micah Miranda, is doing a wonderful job of working together with property owners and tenants to bring awareness and support to the Uptown Chandler area.
Owning and operating several Chandler properties has led Pollack to become a valued source of information for both large and small business owners that are located throughout the city.
“I think it’s important for me to attempt to stay informed on current and future political policies that can affect not only my business but also many tenants throughout the city. I choose to work in Chandler because I love this city,” Pollack says. “The future political leadership of Chandler has never been more critical to both the business community and the quality of life that so many residents have come to expect in Chandler than it is right now. It is important that Chandler remains financially conservative and, most importantly, be prepared to make crucial changes as the need may arise in the future.”
Unlike developers who tear down old existing shopping centers to put up a new one—or bypass the older neighborhood strip centers altogether and focus on building new developments from the ground up—Pollack has a passion for redeveloping antiquated and struggling retail centers and transforming them back into properties that he can be proud of.
Pollack is referred to as the “Plastic Surgeon of Real Estate” for a reason.
“When I talk about renovating a property, I’m not talking about a few injections of Botox,” Pollack says. “Because by the time I’m done with the property it will have had a major facelift.”
Pollack has an eye for redevelopment. He can look at an outdated building or shopping center and see past the decades-old architecture—the peeling paint and empty store fronts—and imagine the property brought back to its original splendor filled with tenants.
“When I look at a new potential project, I envision how the property will look and the difference it will make in the community when renovations are complete,” he says. “I have been in the real estate business for 44 years and for the past 35 years I’ve been a proponent of redevelopment of urban infill areas across America because I know redevelopment can make a huge impact on the surrounding area and in many cases can keep today’s eyesores from becoming tomorrow’s slums.”
A great example of his knack for envisioning the finished renovation happened when Pollack purchased an outdated run down strip shopping center on the northwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Ray Road and turned the property into an attractive asset for the community. It demonstrates what can happen when redevelopment is done right.
“The property was in desperate need of an entirely new updated look which involved structural architectural updates, new paint, landscaping, parking lots and security lighting to restore it back to a beautiful center,” he says. “It was 70 percent vacant when I purchased it. But when I saw it I said to myself, ‘With hard work and a major financial commitment, you can make this project a showpiece.’”
The center, which is now known as Pollack Northpark Plaza, is presently 100 percent leased and has a modern curb appeal that Pollack is very proud to put his name on.
Referring to his career as “playing the game of Monopoly in real life” Pollack says he derives great satisfaction from knowing his work can have a direct impact on the city’s revenue as well as making the city a more beautiful place to live and shop.
“It’s not about the money anymore for me,” Pollack said. “It’s about making a positive difference in the community. It gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I can be the catalyst for change in neighborhoods that ultimately impact the incredible city of Chandler.”