Delaware's largest mall adds stores, upgrades

    Christiana Mall officials get the holiday shopping season started by unveiling a host of new- and newly remodeled- stores.

    Just in time for the holiday shopping season, officials at Christiana Mall unveiled some of its latest additions.  The new stores include a two-story Barnes and Noble bookstore, a Sephora beauty store, and a Brighton Collectibles store.  The upgrades include a completely remodeled food court with new restaurants including Chick-fil-A.

    The remodel comes more than three years after the mall went through a rough patch with two anchor stores, Strawbridge’s and Lord and Taylor shutting down.  Their departure made space available to give the mall a much needed revamp, according to mall manager Steven Chambliss.

    “It appeared dated.  Although the mall had high traffic, and its sales were some of the highest in the country, you couldn’t tell when nobody was here because it looked tired and dated.”  Chambliss says the new stores reflect the move o more high end offerings.  “The tenants are a little more sophisticated.”  He says it’s all part of an effort to provide a wide variety of stores to meet every shoppers needs.

    The mall’s reconstruction didn’t come together without help.  New Castle County Executive Chris Coons says it took a partnership of state and county officials to encourage redevelopment.  “It was the predictable business environment, and the cooperation between the state, the county and all the different agencies, that convinced them to continue to invest in this redevelopment.”  Coons says the reconstruction created hundreds of construction jobs.  It’s also helped reinvigorate a property that he says is “hugely important to our state’s economy.”

    The reinvestment effort isn’t over yet.  “It’s just gonna get better from here,” says Chambliss.  About 80% of the new stores are now open.  Thursday, mall officials announced plans for brand new stores, many of them will be brand new to Delaware.  They include LEGO, White House Black Market, and The Cheesecake Factory, which will all open in 2010.  Coming in 2011 is Delaware’s first Nordstrom store.  The department store will occupy 138,000 sq. ft.

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