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New developments in works at Alton Square Mall

By Nathan Grimm ngrimm@civitasmedia.com

March 23, 2014

ALTON — Some good news may be on the way for Alton Square Mall patrons, but what and how much remains unclear.


The mall recently had a new lighted LED sign constructed at its Alton Square Mall Drive entrance, and an exposed part of the sign had community members talking about what new stores might be coming to the location.


Alton Square Mall general manager Lori Ehlers would only say that the mall has “some things in the works,” declining to shed any light on the mall’s potential new tenants. Commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley handles leasing services for the mall, and leasing broker Chase Young said only that the process is ongoing.


“We’ve got a lot of exciting activity from a leasing perspective and some new prospective tenants for the mall,” Young said. “While we’re pretty far along in a lot of those discussions, it would be premature to provide any specific names.”


That includes Ross Dress for Less, an off-price retail department store chain that has 41 locations in Illinois. Currently, the nearest Illinois location is in Fairview Heights.


Young would not confirm that Ross is among the new retailers potentially coming to the mall but said the store would be a welcome addition.


“We think that they would be a great candidate for that space,” Young said. “We think the market would support their use quite well.”


Any new additions would be a positive development for the mall, which has fallen on hard times in recent years with the downturn in the economy. In 2012, major department store Sears closed its Alton Square Mall location as part of 24 closures the business executed nationwide that year. Furniture retailer Illinois Wholesale Furniture moved into the 44,100-square-foot space last year.


Cassidy Turley’s website lists 34 spaces totaling 106,021 square feet of space available for lease in the 634,181-square-foot mall. Young said they’ve had discussions with a number of other retailers in hopes of filling some of that space, saying he’s contacted “virtually every national retailer that has a location in St. Louis that would be a candidate” for the mall. Young said the prospect of getting some new stores in is an exciting one for the city and the area.


“We’re very excited for the ownership of the mall, certainly for the city, and we think that there is a very good, strong, captive audience in that marketplace that is underserved from a retail perspective,” Young said.


Young said the exact specifics of what stores and how many will likely be known within 30 to 45 days. The arrival of those retailers at the mall likely won’t happen until later this year.


Nathan Grimm may be reached at 618-463-2515 or on Twitter @GrimmTelegraph.