I was in 10th grade in 1998, and I have NO recollection of this mall renovation. I know mom and I were going in here all the time around that time as well. To me the mall looked the same since mom and I started shopping there in 1995 (mom resisted shopping there till Newmarket Fair was on its deathknell).
Anyways here is the article:
Hampton, Va., Officials Unveil Renovated Coliseum Mall.
Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Publication Date: 11/05/1998
Author: Goldblatt, Jennifer
Nov. 5–HAMPTON, Va.–Hampton officials unveiled a renovated Coliseum Mall Wednesday night. It’s $7 million cushier and a more spacious place to spend.
High ceilings, brighter lighting, column-less walkways, comfortable benches and tropical plants now sit alongside a batch of new tenants.
Spurred by consumer surveys, the 25-year-old mall started sprucing itself up in April. A second $3 million phase, including a renovated food court and a new children’s play area, will begin next year.
Coliseum Mall’s makeover is part of a wave of renovations sweeping Hampton Roads’ shopping centers. Next week, Patrick Henry Mall, just eight miles away in Newport News, will unveil a $40 million expansion, including a new Hecht’s, two Dillard’s stores and 10 more specialty stores.
And looming over the retail landscape is the shadow of Norfolk’s MacArthur Center — a $300 million upscale mall anchored by Nordstrom, set to open in March.
Coliseum’s $7 million investment is modest relative to the other malls, some of which are getting major overhauls. Just last week, Virginia Beach’s Lynnhaven Mall completed the first leg of its $100 million expansion. Norfolk’s Military Circle Mall is expecting a new Sears department store, a renovated Hecht’s and a 20-screen movie theater.
Other regional malls are also updating decor, adding new tenants and beefing up ad campaigns.
Mall manager Raymond Tripp admits that Coliseum must “polish itself off,” to remain competitive, but stressed that the renovation is driven by what its shoppers want.
Only a fraction of the mall’s estimated 30,000 daily shoppers come from the Southside, Tripp said. He expects some Peninsula shoppers to check out MacArthur Center once it opens. But for their day-to-day needs, they’re more likely to shop at the most convenient center.
Observers say that malls must also contend with the strip centers anchored by discounters Wal-Mart and Target, which have sprouted up nearby. The competition, however, is improving the quality and diversity of the region’s retail base, they said.
Successful retail centers are vital to the tax bases of cities. That’s part of why Norfolk is investing nearly $100 million in MacArthur Center. And it’s also why Hampton’s retail development director June McPartland @calls Coliseum Mall the city’s “cash cow.”
According to the city, retail generates more than $35 million in local tax revenues each year.
“Coliseum Mall is really the anchor for our entire major retail district,” she said.
Coliseum Mall has gained a slew of new tenants recently, including The Disney Store and American Eagle Outfitters. GapKids is coming early next year.
J.C. Penney, two Dillard’s stores, Montgomery Ward and Hecht’s anchor the mall, in addition to 10 restaurants and 120 specialty stores. When New York-based Mall Properties Inc. built the $25 million mall in 1973, it was the Peninsula’s largest.
Early morning shoppers and mall walkers, pacing the bright corridors, got the first peek at Coliseum’s new look.
“The chairs, the lights, it’s a lot more comfortable,” said Joyce Pizzeck, a Hampton resident who has walked the mall three mornings a week for the past six years, and often shops afterward.
Phyllis Schouster, an employee at the Hair Cuttery, who picked up some gifts on the way to work also noticed the changes.
“I think that they were trying to change their outlook, and they really had to in order to compete with Patrick Henry,” she said. “Everybody needs a face lift at some point.”
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