MOUNT VERNON — A multi-million dollar makeover will result in a new look for Times Square Mall and a new shopping experience in Mount Vernon.
The renovation project was announced last fall by the Sansone Group and Pine Tree Commercial Realty, the partners overseeing the mall’s redevelopment.
Included in the renovations are a new facade for the mall that opened at Broadway and 42nd Streets in 1973, construction of a new building upfront to house smaller shops, improvements in signage and parking areas and other changes that will allow for the addition of several new stores.
Th renovation work is continuing at a fast pace, Jim Sansone of the Sansone Group said.
“We’re actually ahead of schedule,” he said. “Construction should be finished earlier than expected and leasing is going well.”
In addition to the previously announced Big Lots and Hobby Lobby, developers have snagged clothing retailers Ross Dress for Less and rue21 for occupancy in the mall proper, Karen Shaw of the Sansone Group said.
Moe’s Southwest Grill is the first announced tenant for for the outlying building but more tenants are lining up for space there and in the main mall building, she said.
Developers also anticipate the construction of a restaurant in front of the mall in the future.
The property will have a mix of national, regional and mom-and-pop retailers that all excel at what they do, Shaw said.
“It’s going to have a different flavor so that residents can find what they need locally; they won’t need to go to a larger metropolitan area,” she said.
The mall redevelopment has benefited from the support of the community and its leaders, Sansone said. That support was one of the reasons the decision to do business in the city made sense, Sansone said.
“This is such a welcoming community — the residents, the mayor and council, the (Jefferson County) economic development board. We wish more communities around the United States would follow the city’s lead in supporting development. When we’ve gone to the city with a need, they’ve been immediately responsive and the community is genuinely excited about what’s to come,” he said.
The city at the crossroads of Interstates 57 and 64, is poised for growth, he said.
“The marketplace itself has good traffic and a great location, and it was feasible financially. It made sense to us and our partner to bring this project to the city,” Sansone said.
The project brought about 400 construction jobs and will bring permanent full-time jobs in the retail market once the project is completed.
Mayor Mary Jane Chesley said the developers “have been awesome to work with. They see the potential here, not just for sales but for the workers this area can provide, too. This project shows that by working together, we can turn plans into reality.”
On Twitter: @beckymalkovich
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