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Nothing dropped on shoppers during mall work

Southridge project avoids shopping hours

Nov. 28, 2011

Greendale - Black Friday shoppers had access to all Southridge stores despite renovations under way at the mall.

Essentially, most of the work is occurring when the shoppers aren't around, said Mary Mokwa, the shopping center's general manager.

"Most of the remodeling is being done in the evening, after the mall's closed," Mokwa said.

When the mall's hours expand for the holiday shopping season, that night work will come to a halt, she added.

"I'd be disappointed if people would think they'd be impaired by the remodeling," Mokwa said this week.

Signs of progress

Southridge, owned by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, is undergoing a $52.5 million renovation project that includes redoing the mall's four entrances, updating the Food Court, replacing flooring with new tile or carpet, replacing metal railings with glass ones, relocating the children's play area to the mall's center and updating all lighting.

"So far, we have two of the four mall entrances remodeled," said Mokwa. "All four entrances will be open."

Additionally, the upstairs restrooms were to be completed and open for shoppers Wednesday, she said. "Glass railing is being installed as we speak," she said.

Scaffolding inside the mall for use in the remodeling project has already been used. As of Tuesday morning, construction-orange placards urging shoppers to watch out for uneven flooring was the only obvious signs that work was continuing.

No small task

The remodeling project is the only major one the 1.2 million-square-foot mall has undertaken. Mokwa said the mall had a minor "face-lift" in the 1970s and a more major one in the 1990s when the Food Court was added.

"Never has there been an extensive renovation as is currently happening," she said.

The mall has more than 120 specialty shops, including the clothing store H&M, which opened in October, and Sarku Japan, a fast-food chain store that opened in the Food Court in November. Southridge also has four department stores, including Boston Store, which is also undergoing renovations. Owned by Bon-Ton Stores Inc., that store's interior work is on schedule, said Mokwa.

"They are going to be completely renovating the interior of the store," she said. "They are working on the upper level in the rear. But again, the store will be open and totally accessible."

Likewise, Macy's, which announced in May it would open a 150,000-square-foot store at Southridge, is on track to open as planned, said Mokwa. The grand opening of that store, the mall's fifth anchor, is expected to take place March 12.

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