BIRMINGHAM, AL | AUG 07, 2012–Contractors began work today on a redevelopment project at Hoover’s Riverchase Galleria, a sweeping set of plans that are expected to cost at least $60 million and rejuvenate the 26-year-old shopping mall, which is Alabama’s busiest. This morning, work began on upgrades to the center court restrooms, which will be modernized, repaired and enlarged. The renovations are expected to take up to three months to complete, said Christopher White, the mall’s marketing manager. Other improvements will include relocation and upgrades for the center court elevators and a new public restroom in the JC Penney wing. Also, in the center court, new aesthetic architectural elements are planned, while entrances to the mall and pedestrian bridges will be updated, too. The entire project is expected to last 12 to 15 months.
Last fall, the Hoover City Council approved up to $25 million in sales tax incentives for the project, while mall owners General Growth Properties and Jim Wilson and Associates said they planned to spend $60 million to $90 million on the work. One of the redevelopment’s key features is the addition of a new Von Maur department store. The Davenport, Iowa-based retailer is taking over the three-story anchor space that originally housed Macy’s, and work has begun there, White said. Von Maur is expected to open in the fall of 2013. It will join other soon-to-open retailers, including Jared Jewelry, Pandora, Destination Maternity and Rainbow.
Jared is taking over the former Just For Feet site in front of the mall, which had been vacant for long stretches in recent years. The old building was demolished last month. Also today, another new store opened at the Galleria. Torrid, which sells apparel, lingerie and accessories for young, voluptuous women who wear a size 12 and up, has a 2,307-square-foot space on the second level near the mall’s center court next to Skechers. Torrid, which has 170 stores across the U.S., will hold a grand opening event on Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. “More than 50 percent of women in the U.S. wear our size range, yet this market represents only 17 percent of women’s fashion retail industry,” Lisa Harper, chairman and chief executive of Torrid’s parent company, Hot Topic Inc., said in a prepared statement. “We see a great opportunity to grow our business by offering our customers apparel and accessories that fit their sense of style, while helping them look and feel irresistible.”
This article was written by Dawn Kent of The Birmingham News and posted www.al.com on August 7, 2012.