New owners for the Westgate Mall brought welcome news of additional stores, a new theater, technology upgrades to the mall and, especially, the prospect of more jobs.
Alan Retkinski and Alex Schleider, who formed Westgate Mall Realty Group, purchased the mall for $6.8 million from DDR Corp.
Two stores, Big Lots and Dunham’s Sports, signed leases to open in the former Kmart, which most recently was home to Steve & Barry’s. Renovation on the space, including a new facade, began in November. The stores plan to be open in March. That means additional tax revenue for the city and more jobs, perhaps as many as 50 with the addition of those two stores.
Retkinski’s New Jersey-based company, Lexington Realty International, owns and manages shopping centers and has taken other malls said to be in death spirals and turned them into vibrant destinations again.
When those stores open in March, the mall will be at 90 percent occupancy, an increase from the 65 percent occupancy when the mall changed hands. With the sale, Mann Theatres purchased Movies 10 at Westgate from the mall’s new owners and announced plans for a 12-screen multiplex. Upgrades at the mall will include free WiFi, widescreen TV with weather and news updates and add a sponsored child play area. In addition to the mall space, a 1.15 acre parcel in front of the mall toward Washington Street near Burger King could be home to a national chain restaurant.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.