General Growth Properties
The three-year makeover of Fashion Place Mall will include new stores for Nordstrom and Dillard's and new food court.

Fashion Place mall in Murray will add 230,000 square feet of space as part of a three-year, multimillion-dollar makeover, its parent company announced Tuesday.

General Growth Properties, which owns the mall, said the addition will bring total space at Fashion Place to more than 1 million square feet.

In November 2006, the company announced a significant expansion to the mall, without releasing details. Construction started in March and is expected to be complete sometime in 2010.

New stores will be built for Nordstrom and Dillard's, which are current anchor stores at the mall. In addition, new restaurants, shops and interior remodeling are planned.

A new food court with outdoor seating and two new anchor restaurants are expected. A community plaza also is in the works and will be used for open-air concerts and other events.

Tamara DeMilt, senior marketing manager for General Growth Properties, said the renovation work will occur in small sections to minimize disruption to the roughly 150 retailers at the mall.

DeMilt said the mall is 98 percent occupied, and she does not believe the three-year renovation will affect sales.

"So far in the few months that we have been under construction our sales are still very good," DeMilt said.

Rob Kallas, manager of the University Mall in Orem, recalls a three-year major renovation to his mall between 2001 and 2004 that also added 230,000 square feet of space.

"We were really apprehensive about going through it," Kallas said. "We know obviously you've got to keep stores in business. You can't do anything to restrict people from being able to access their stores."

With that in mind, Kallas developed a plan whereby the bulk of the mall's interior work was done at night.

"We actually designed some canvas barriers that were rolled up every morning above the stores," Kallas said. "For a year almost we had customers walking on concrete floors and studs were showing. It was kind of interesting because the customers quite enjoyed it."

Kallas said some retailers during the renovation did experience a decrease in sales, but most did not.

"We thought we were going to experience some real negative results, but we didn't," Kallas said. "We actually had a lot of people come down to see what was going on."

DeMilt said when work is completed at Fashion Place, each new store will have exterior storefronts.

Work is under way on the site for the mall's new Nordstrom store, which is expected to start going up in 2008.

A number of new tenants are expected to sign leases at the renovated and expanded Fashion Place, but specific names are not yet being disclosed.

"Fashion Place has a strong and loyal customer base," said John Bucksbaum, chief executive of General Growth Properties. "We need to reward that loyalty and welcome new customers by offering an even better shopping environment."