Re-imagining the mall
In a few years, Coliseum Mall could begin its evolution into a town center with mixed uses.
BY JODY SNIDER
April 27, 2005
HAMPTON — The owners of Coliseum Mall think their property – the first mall developed on the Peninsula – has to start changing into the next big thing. They plan to do away with the 32-year old mall and develop a “town center” that would hold even more retail stores, plus residential condominiums, office buildings and possibly a hotel, Hampton officials said Tuesday.
Hampton Mall Associates plans to invest more than $200 million to turn Coliseum Mall into a town center, said Terry O’Neill, chief planner for Hampton.
The reinvention is a part of a national trend that has mall owners looking for solutions that will revive older properties like Coliseum Mall. Owners of similar older malls across the country are also looking for more shop-appeal for their older properties.
On 75 acres, Coliseum Mall currently has 89 tenants that employ 1,250 workers. A town center development, others of which are already being developed in the area, is defined as offering retail, professional offices, apartments or condominiums and civic services. Residences and offices are typically located among retail storefronts.
In its early days, the mall made the Coliseum area a vibrant shopping area on the Peninsula. In recent years, however, that area and the city have shown a sharp decline in taxable retail sales. As a result, the city last year announced that it had hired Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates to redesign the mall, as a part of an overall improvement plan for the city.
That early design included keeping several of the current buildings and using outdoor entries in to each of the buildings. The redesign of the mall is part of an effort to resurrect the Coliseum area as the city’s premier shopping and entertainment district. Although some of the early designs remain, the new town concept is an evolution that includes mixed uses. The redevelopment of the mall could begin in two years.
The property is already zoned for mixed-use development, city officials said.
Talks between the city and the mall owners began a few months ago, but city officials have not yet seen a model or plan of the proposed project, O’Neill said.
However, James Eason, director of economic development for Hampton, said the town center concept would keep one building while eliminating the rest of the current mall. Although jobs with current tenants at the mall would be lost in the redevelopment of the town center, Eason said there would be greater job opportunities with the newer retail offerings than what is currently available.
He said many of those people could be re-employed with new job opportunities.
Eason said the mall owners plan to present the town center concept to national retailers at a Las Vegas convention in May at the International Council of Shopping Centers. The annual convention is a place for developers to showcase offerings to retailers looking for markets to move into.
The presentation at the Las Vegas convention should help Hampton Mall Associates gauge national retailers’ interest in the proposed project, said Joel Rubin, a public relations spokesman for the mall owners.
“It will be a significant project, but there are no final figures and nothing has been finalized yet,” Rubin said. “The owners of the mall and the city are still in serious discussions about what to do with the site. Nothing is definite.”
O’Neill said a marketing study would be done to determine what the scale and the components of the project should be for the Hampton area. “We’re not sure of the square-footage yet,” O’Neill said. “We’re not sure what part of the mall stays or what part goes. The Las Vegas convention will give us an idea of retailers’ response. It will provide the meat on the bones for this idea.”
Owners: Hampton Mall Associates
Anchors: Burlington Coat Factory, Hecht’s, JC Penney
Number of stores: 89
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sundays
Web site: coliseummall.com