Property developers for Quintard Mall are making plans for more demolition early next year to pave the way for development of seven outward facing shops and some outparcel properties.
The Georgia-based company Hull Property Group purchased the property in 2017 for $6.7 million and in July 2019, demolished the former Sears store there, signaling the start of exterior redevelopment.
Now, John Mulherin, the company’s vice president of government relations, said Hull plans to tear down 210,000 square feet of the mall starting in the first quarter of 2021.
“If you go in the mall, where the common area is, if you’re looking out of the front of the Hibbett store, everything in front of that going toward Quintard [Avenue] is gonna be torn down,” Mulherin said.
Mulherin said there will still be entry to the mall, but that it will be a hybrid of both outward-facing shops and a closed mall space.
“It gives you that Oxford Exchange kind of a feel,” he said, referring to the shopping center a short drive down Interstate 20 from the mall.
He explained that there are some leasing-related issues to resolve before demolition can begin, and making large structural changes close to Black Friday — the post-Thanksgiving shopping event — is a no-go.
“If you’re not finished with all your work before Black Friday, you’ll just have to wait and do it later,” he said.
The entire three- to five-year redevelopment project is divided into three stages, Mulherin said, which is to “stabilize, transform and reposition,” explaining that the project is roughly 90 percent into the transformation stage.
“Then, and only then, can you start to market these outparcel developments,” he said.
Finding tenants to fill vacant space in the mall has been a challenge as COVID-19 continues to haunt retailers all across the country. Mulherin said the goal of transformation was to keep existing tenants, but branching out to find new ones hasn’t been easy.
“We probably lost the spring and the summer,” he said in reference to the search for tenants. “There weren’t any retailers interested in having any conversation other than their survivability over the spring and summer, but we’re still on track.”
Between June and November of last year, the focus was on interior renovation, Mulherin said, noting that the entrance to AmStar Cinemas was redesigned, cornice was added to some of the mall’s exterior and new carpeting was installed. Earlier this year, AmStar did its own improvements to the auditorium and debuted luxury seating.
“Once we get where we can go back to movies, it’s gonna be a fabulous experience,” he said.