The opening of Wahlburgers at Genesee Valley Center was not a quick pursuit, but rather a journey of commitment, a chance to develop relationships and ultimately, a deal to get done. Wahlburgers opened at GVC in June 2019 with a Grand Opening & VIP Event. Our leasing team worked for over a year to make this possibility into a reality for the center.
SREG’s Dealmaking Story
This pursuit began in 2017 after one of our leasing reps was canvassing through Detroit and found out the restaurant was expanding their presence in Michigan. SREG immediately reached out to Wahlburgers with hopes of closing a deal. At the time, the restaurant had exponential growth and was overwhelmed with real estate opportunities in some of the best markets across the country.
We were pitching Flint, Michigan for our deal at GVC. This area was known for having some negative connotations, but we remained optimistic of its potential. SREG was in consistent contact with the main broker for Wahlburgers, who worked directly with Mark Wahlberg. The broker told us they would investigate the Flint area, but in a few years for a future project.
On the other hand, we were determined to make this a reality ASAP, so we made it a top priority. Flint became an appealing market to Wahlberg and the broker after we showed them its tight-knit, hardworking community. These positives within GVC and the Flint community helped them both get on board.
Once we had them settled on the location, we had another challenge to face – show them that opening a restaurant connected to a mall would be a great fit for their brand. At first, their team was adamant that Wahlburgers had to be a freestanding location, but we had a plan for their location to be in the outdoor village at GVC. After meeting with Mark in person to pitch our idea to him directly, we had successfully negotiated the village location. Within a couple of months, we had a lease finalized and the deal done in August 2018. We announced it to the community in November 2018 to get them excited for the opening the following summer.
Mark was equally excited as we were to close the deal. He showed his support for being a part of the community and bringing our experiences together.
“I want to bring our family experience to yours. This is a big, big deal for us! I want to be in Flint. I want to be in communities where people work hard, they have love for their community and family. It’s all about working together and celebrating and spreading the love. I’m so excited I can’t wait,” Mark expressed to our team.
As a team we overcame any adversities we faced during the Wahlburgers deal making process. We never stopped at “no.” And instead, used a get-it-done mindset to never give up until we achieved the final deal. At SREG, we are relentless with our visions. We set and achieve goals at the highest of standards, no matter what the challenge may be.
SREG leasing team implemented internal weekly deal flow meetings to discuss Wahlburgers deal. This helped our team stay focused and determined throughout the whole process.
SREG worked closely with Wahlburgers team to show them the opportunities that opening Wahlburgers at GVC would bring. The tight-knit community of Flint would offer a dynamic that fit in perfectly with the Wahlburgers brand image.
SREG successfully proved their get-it-done process and determined mindset, which gained attention among the Wahlburgers team. This allowed us to all work together to develop a vision and achieve our goals.
We are a working-class organization, rooted at our family’s kitchen table where the only star is the food and the music is laughter and stories. We embrace loyalty, gratitude, excellence and community, sharing these values in our restaurants every day. We like to have fun. We aim to make our guests smile. For more information, please visit https://wahlburgers.com.
Genesee Valley Center is an enclosed shopping mall with 1.3 million square feet of leasable area. Located outside of Flint, MI in the heart of Genesee County, GVC features an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment plaza, The Village, including 120+ shops and eateries like Macy's, Torrid, JCPenney, Wahlburgers, Victoria's Secret, Mo Pete's Sports Retreat, Box Lunch, Kay's Jewelers, H&M, Bar Louie, The Buckle and so much more.