MURRAY — Shoppers at the Fashion Place Mall heard some rumblings Wednesday as crews demolished the Sears department store.
The store was razed to make way for a newer and bigger site for Dillard's, which will be moving from the north to the south end of the mall.
"Economic impact is going to be all pluses for us," said Tim Tingey, director of administrative and development services for Murray.
The new Dillard's is scheduled to move into the new 200,000-square-foot building — about a 20,000-square-foot expansion — in the spring of 2015. Tingey said the store will be a "strong anchor" for the mall and the community.
"It will enhance our tax base. It will enhance our sales tax revenue. It will provide great amenities for our community as far as the shopping opportunities," Tingey said. "We couldn’t be happier with some of the changes that are occurring over there."
Celeste Dorris, general manager of Fashion Place, said the new store will not only be larger but will have an improved store design and technology. "Fashion Place is a successful shopping center, and Dillard's has done really well here," she said.
Macy's closed its doors at the mall earlier this month. The Container Store will fill the 25,000-square-foot space sometime in the fall, Dorris said.
"All of these things are part of a strategic vision for the property to make sure that we're keeping things fresh and new for consumers," she said. "It's all been very intentional and strategic on our part to make sure we're addressing the needs of our consumers."
Tingey said the Container Store will be a strong addition for the mall. He said there are negotiations to fill the north Dillard's location when it moves next year.
Overall, Dorris said, sales have been going well for the mall over the past few years.
"That's one of the reasons why we've seen so much interest from retailers coming in from other markets for the first time in Utah, like the Container Store," she said.
"We think it'll be a lot better for us," said Aaron Crabtree, assistant manager for Fossil, of the new Dillard's building. "When Sears actually closed about a year ago, we definitely saw a drop off in traffic."
He said Dillard's is a better fit for his company's clientele than Sears was and expects to see an increase in sales next spring.
Brady Pilon, manager for Finish Line, said since the close of the demolition site two doors down from him, he has noticed a significant decrease in traffic.
"It's kind of been hurting us," he said, adding that he hopes the new Dillard's will drive sales and traffic.
Marné Cheftang, store manager for American Eagle, said she felt some rumbling Wednesday from the demolition but that the changes haven't affected the store.
Chaftang said American Eagle will also be renovating. On Sunday, the store will move to another site in the mall for eight weeks before moving back. She, too, expects the Dillard's presence at the south end of the mall will increase traffic.
"We think the mall will be stronger with these changes than ever before," Tingey said. "It's still one of the best malls in the state."
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