Visitors to the Bradley Square Mall will see several new places to shop and eat within the next few months after work is completed on a new food court area and new stores occupying some currently empty spaces.
The past several months have seen the opening of the Carmike Cinemas Bradley Square 12 movie theater and two new stores, the Sears Hometown store and the Book Gallery discount bookstore.
Food offerings in the mall that were originally set to be available this past spring were postponed, but Bradley Square Mall spokesperson Hazel Key said the new food court will be open around September.
“It takes longer to remodel a location and retrofit for food services,” Key said. “They’ve run into some delays.”
Instead of using the existing food court area, a new one has been built next to the Bath and Body Works store, where the mall’s customer service desk once stood. There, a recently built seating area will eventually be sandwiched between two restaurants, Luigi’s Pizza and OK Maguey, a Mexican restaurant that has been in the process of moving from one side of the mall to the other.
Another recent addition to the food court area was an outdoor patio. Doors leading into the mall from the parking lot next to the movie theater are framed on either side by tables and chairs, which Key said will give diners more options as they choose where to eat.
“The old food court never had that,” Key said.
Another upcoming culinary addition to the mall is a Santa Fe Cattle Co. steakhouse restaurant that will be located just inside the mall entrance closest to the Belk department store. It will be opening Aug. 12. Great American Cookies, a longtime tenant of the mall, remains in its existing location.
The latest new store scheduled to open will be Dunham’s Sports, which is part of a national chain of sporting goods stores. It will be located in what was once home to the full-size Sears department store. It is also set to open around September, Key said.
In anticipation of the mall’s changes, two existing businesses have decided to make changes by moving or renovating their spaces. Claire’s Accessories, which is located next to the Shoe Dept. store, is in the process of moving into a larger space. American Eagle Outfitters recently renovated its original store space to give it an updated look.
Existing retailers and Dunham’s Sports will eventually be joined by more new businesses at some point next year.
“There are a few more deals signed,” Key said. “We’ll release that as soon as the tenants allow.”
A total of six unnamed tenants have signed lease agreements with the mall and will occupy existing store spaces, she added.
All of the mall’s “anchor spots” that have their own outdoor entrances are already being occupied, which narrows down the types of businesses that might be included in the growing list of tenants.
The recent and upcoming changes to the mall have been set in motion for one main reason, said mall representatives. The goal is to draw larger crowds.
“Bradley Square Mall has always been a place for our community to enjoy, and we are confident this redevelopment will deliver a new shopping experience as well as make the center an entertainment destination for not only area residents, but surrounding counties,” said Stacia Shahan, the mall’s general manager.
Shahan said she estimated the mall’s management, the Morrison Companies based in Baton Rouge, La., will have spent about $22 million in improvements to the complex once all the businesses slated to move in have done so. Those millions do not include all of the costs that retailers cover on their own. Who covers which construction costs is addressed in a retailer’s individual lease agreement.
As of right now, all the new restaurants and retailers are scheduled to be open by sometime next year.
“Bradley Square Mall will truly be a 'one stop,’ must-experience destination providing excellent dining, shopping and entertainment venues,” Shahan said.