PROVO — The Shops at Riverwoods, which was seized by a bank last year in a foreclosure proceeding, has new owners who want to transform it into a modern, hip, pedestrian-friendly mall.
The new owners, a group of local investors called Tigriswoods LLC, are about to break ground on an eight-week construction project that will make the mall 100-percent pedestrian, eliminating the drive-through sections on the east and north ends of the mall.
Outdoor heaters, seating areas, water and fire features and a stage area for entertainment will be built in the space around the mall.
A reception center will open at the end of May for events such as corporate meetings and wedding receptions. A handful of new tenants also are moving in.
"The Shops at Riverwoods is transforming itself into a hot, new destination, and big changes are under way," mall manager Jeremy Blickenstaff said in a prepared statement. "Large equipment rolls in soon, as the center will begin to transform into a pedestrian-only shopping, dining and entertainment center."
Tigriswoods bought what was Utah's first open-air mall from Bank of America last fall for an undisclosed amount.
In May 2009, Bank of America had ended up with the mortgage after a succession of loan acquisitions. At the time, the principal and interest was about $30.6 million, and the former owners — Terranet Investments LC, an investment partnership in Utah and California — had not made monthly payments at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.
The mall opened in 1998 with a number of national retailers who have since left: Eddie Bauer, Copeland Sports, Gap, Banana Republic, Abercrombie & Fitch and Ann Taylor.
Now, for entertainment, a 50,000-square-foot center that will have golf, and a surfing machine is opening in the former Copeland Sports site. It is expected to open by Christmastime.
A 3,000-square-foot retail shop, Called to Surf, will have a grand opening June 5, selling apparel, accessories and hardware from companies such as Billabong, Quiksilver, Hurley and locally owned modest swimwear company Lime Ricky.
Blickenstaff's, a store that sells vintage candy and more than 200 types of toys, will have a grand opening May 15. It is located in the former space occupied by Buckle. The store has a large tree in the center of the store, and stuffed animals hang on the walls. Blickenstaff's will sell old-fashioned airplanes, wooden spinning tops, jacks and marbles, dolls, pedal go-carts and plush animals.
A pizzeria and a healthy contemporary American-style restaurant are slated to open in the development within a month. With the two restaurants, as well as Called to Surf, Blickenstaff's and the reception center, mall occupancy will be about 75 percent.
Throughout the summer, the mall will bring in live music, dancers and other entertainment, beginning June 5. To see a schedule of the entertainment, visit shopsatriverwoods.com.
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