Rest assured the mannequins at Dillard's will have clothes on when the anchor store at Provo Towne Centre opens its doors next week.
The unclad dummies are just one of many things that need dressing up before the state's newest indoor shopping mall springs to life over the next few months. Dillard's will be ready for a back-to-school sale while the mall's other two anchors, JC Penney and Sears, are aiming for an early October opening. The rest of the mall is scheduled to open at the end of October.Although late-arriving steel set construction back early on, crews on the $100 million project have nearly caught up.
"They're on track to open as scheduled," said Leland Gamette, Provo economic development director, during a City Council tour of the construction site this week.
Provo Towne Centre will be the city's second new shopping center to open this year. The Shops at Riverwoods in northeast Provo are set to debut in about three weeks. Neither Gamette nor developers of the upscale center see it as a competitor to the new mall, which likely will have broader appeal to shoppers.
"I think that both of them will do really well," he said. "I think Provo has positioned itself in the marketplace to cover both needs."
After University Mall in neighboring Orem went up in 1973, it appeared Provo would be shut out of the mall scene. But steady growth in Utah Valley has expanded the population base enough to support another indoor shopping center, said Gamette, who has worked for Provo for 26 years.
Mall developer JP Realty of Salt Lake City has leased about 75 percent of the two-story mall's 950,000 square feet of retail space. The food court, to be named Rock Canyon Cafes, will feature seating in a glass-enclosed rotunda that provides a picture-perfect view of Provo's east-side mountains. The mall's two sit-down restaurants surround a water fountain.
JP Realty refuses to reveal the mall's tenants outside of the three anchor stores.
The city also has approved JP Realty's plan to attach a 16-screen movie theater to the mall's southwest end. It will open in about a year.
"This will have a lot of sizzle when it's done. It will be a fun gathering place," Gamette said.
Hard-hat wearing City Council members who toured the building Monday were pleased with what they saw and say it will be worth the $12 million Provo paid to secure the 63 acres on which it's being constructed. JP Realty is to reimburse the city for land costs.
"I think this is going to put money in the coffers for a long time to come," said Council Chairman Greg Hudnall. "Plus, it provides good shopping for the citizens. We want to keep everyone in Provo."
Officials have estimated the mall will generate $1 million to $2 million a year in tax revenue.
Provo Towne Centre is at the city's south end between University Avenue and I-15.