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Mall plans still are in the works
Announcement may come within two months

Thursday, February 20, 2014

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Liberty Fair Mall’s owner hopes to be able to announce definite, detailed plans for redeveloping the shopping center within the next two months, a spokesman for the firm said Wednesday.

“We’re still working on some of the details” of the project, said Coles Hull, marketing analyst for the Hull Storey Gibson Companies, based in Augusta, Ga.

Hull said that is because the firm continues to negotiate leases with some potential new tenants, and meeting their specific needs for retail space may affect how the mall is redeveloped.

One store that the firm is negotiating with is a so-called “big box” retailer, she said. An example of such a store is Marshalls, the department store that opened at Liberty Fair in October.

Hull Storey Gibson recently “prepared some spaces” for potential new tenants, Hull said.

Leasing agents are “working on several initiatives,” and so are construction people, she said. She declined to elaborate on those initiatives.

Hull also said she cannot yet say whether Liberty Fair will remain an indoor shopping mall or become a traditional “strip mall” shopping center in which stores open to the outdoors instead of an interior hallway.

At roughly 434,000 square feet, Liberty Fair is the Henry County-Martinsville area’s largest shopping center. Hull Storey Gibson bought the mall in May 2012. The company also owns the larger Danville Mall — formerly Piedmont Mall — which recently underwent renovations.

Liberty Fair opened in the late 1980s. In recent years, many of its stores and businesses have gone out of business or moved elsewhere locally.

Yet the mall is attracting new businesses, and some existing ones have remodeled in recent years. For example, in addition to Marshalls’ arrival, Kroger recently remodeled its supermarket and built a gas station that will open soon.

The following also are among the 15 stores and businesses still at the mall: Armed Forces Recruiting Center, Bath & Body Works, Belk, Country Cookin’, Foot Locker, GNC, JoAnn Fabric & Craft, maurices, National Optical, OfficeMax, Rack Room Shoes, Regis Salon and Wrap, Pack & Mail.

Hull emphasized that her firm remains committed to revamping the mall.

“I really do hope in the very near future” that detailed plans can be finalized and announced, including new tenants and any changes planned to the mall’s appearance, she said.


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