In the last few months part of University Mall has been demolished, new buildings are under construction and new businesses have or are getting ready to open — all part of the multi-year project to redevelop more than 100 acres at the site, called University Place.
“We made the decision some time ago to convert University Mall into a mixed-use project that will have different elements besides retail,” said University Mall manager Rob Kallas. There will be housing, four to five high-rise office buildings, a hotel, a large park that will host events regularly and parking garages, in addition to the existing mall.
One of the biggest changes at the site in the past month was the demolition of the old Mervyns store.
The department store closed up shop in the mall about six years ago, and the space has sat empty ever since. In mid-May crews started demolition on the site, which will be complete in about a month and a half, Kallas said.
Where Mervyns once stood will be a 2-acre park with a large lawn area, children’s play areas, water features, a stage and more. There also will be a road built on the north side of the mall building, to connect 800 East and State Street. Office towers will be built along that road as well.
Construction on a new five-story office building started earlier this year on the south side of the mall, and it’s expected to open in early 2016. There will be a one-story parking garage underneath that building, stretching from the Chico’s building west to the Jared Galleria of Jewelry building, Kallas said.
Tenants of a new restaurant building east of Carrabba’s are getting ready to open. Chipotle, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Starbucks will open around mid-July, Kallas said. Black Bear Diner also will be opening in mid-July, in the space once occupied by Jason’s Deli.
The first of the apartments being built east of Costco will be ready for tenants in December, and more will be coming for about a year and a half, Kallas said.
RC Willey opened its new store at the mall in April, DSW shoe store will open in the fall and more stores are coming. With 200-something spaces, new tenants are coming and existing tenants are remodeling all the time, Kallas said. But he wasn’t ready to make any announcements on new stores yet.