Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Suit alleges Winrock development crimps profits for Dillard’s

Yearslong construction at Winrock Town Center has hurt business and cut into profits at Dillard’s department store, the mall’s anchor tenant alleges in a lawsuit.

The ongoing work has made Dillard’s uninviting to customers, who must contend with “construction rubble, equipment, and fencing blocking sidewalks outside of and around the men’s and women’s stores,” the federal lawsuit contends.

The suit, filed Thursday in US District Court of New Mexico, Albuquerque division, names as defendants Winrock Partners LLC and Integrated Property Services Co., doing business as Goodman Realty Group.

Officials at Goodman Realty did not immediately respond Tuesday to voice and email messages seeking comment.

Dillard’s has leased a men’s and a women’s store at Winrock Town Center since 1992, when Winrock was an enclosed mall. For years, the Little Rock, Arkansas-based retailer’s two stores have anchored Winrock.

In 2007, Winrock Partners acquired Winrock Center and began redeveloping the property into an open-air mall. The lawsuit alleges “this redevelopment has wrongfully come at Dillard’s expense.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages, alleging that the developer breached its lease with Dillard’s by changing the configuration of Winrock without the retailer’s consent.

“For inexplicable reasons, the protracted and prolonged redevelopment and resulting demolition and construction have caused constant disruptions and an unattractive premises, significantly reducing Dillard’s profits,” the suit contends.

Dillard’s lease requires Winrock not to obstruct “common areas,” such as parking lots, sidewalks and roadways, without Dillard’s prior consent, the suit alleges. It also holds Winrock accountable for alleged damage to Dillard’s profitability.

Goodman Realty Group in May announced a plan to build a 2½-acre “central park” at Winrock, including a 374,000-gallon pond, with estimated completion next year. The development group also announced plans to build housing and a hotel on the site.

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The lawsuit contends that when construction began in June, the project blocked several entrances to Dillard’s and tore up much of the store’s parking. The complaint includes photos that show fencing blocking at an entrance to the women’s store and blocking a portion of Dillard’s parking lots.

The project “has converted the area surrounding Dillard’s retail spaces into an active construction zone, which appears dangerous, unclean, and unsightly,” the suit contends.

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