You just bought a large mall that’s seen better times in a city with 20+% unemployment, so what do you do? That’s right… you kick out one of your anchor stores that’s been there since the beginning. Wait, what?!
Liberty Fair Mall is in pretty sad shape already, so I’m wondering if Hull Storey Gibson isn’t trying to run in completely in the ground and then turn it into something else. Sears is closing because they can’t get a long-term lease and I have no idea why the mall owners wouldn’t want to keep a 23-year cash cow anchor store in the mall. Now, the company says that they may be kicking out local businesses in favor of larger national ones?
If national businesses were going to come to Liberty Fair Mall, they’d have already been there. You know… like Sears? The company that they’re sending packing? Look at the grandeur that
is was Carolina Circle Mall in Greensboro? Oops, I’m sorry. It was bulldozed into a Walmart shopping center. The mall owners are going to have to pull a miracle to get another big-name anchor store to fill Sears’ spot. The previous owners lost Goody’s through no fault of their own and could only replace it with a locally-owned furniture store. No big-name anchor store will want to invest in a new location in a mall that’s got troubles in a city that’s got 20+% (yeah, that’s the real number) unemployment. That’s why the open space that was Boscov’s in Danville’s Piedmont Mall is still an open space. It’s also why it was an open space long before Boscov’s came in, too.
Come to think of it, I’m wondering if this is what’s in store for Piedmont Mall next year as the story says Hull Storey Gibson is going to renovate it. There are a lot of “local” businesses there and very few national ones. Piedmont Mall is in about the same shape as Liberty Fair Mall, but I don’t see much chance of them trying to run Piedmont Mall into the ground since there’s plenty of big-box retail near it unlike in Martinsville. But that’s enough Danville speculation for now. Let’s get back to Martinsville.
Remember when Patrick Henry Mall was the place to shop in Martinsville? Yeah, me neither but it was when JC Penney was there and other businesses. It’s now a dump whose major tenant is a temporary-based call center company. It’s about 20% full (if that) and quite dead. Liberty Fair Mall is about 70% full (soon to drop) and on life support. Let’s see what this “planning” brings.