Businesses sticking by Valley View Mall despite uncertain future
Manager confident loyal customers will stay
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Update:
Following News 8’s story, PREIT issued the following statement:
“We are constantly evaluating our properties and prioritizing our capital across our portfolio. While Valley View Mall is not currently on the market, we are exploring opportunities to optimize its success as we would any of our properties.”
While the future of Valley View Mall is uncertain, some are hopeful that it can get through this difficult time. There are multiple big chain retailers declaring bankruptcy and other businesses packing up shop at the mall.
During the latest earnings call with PREIT, the company that owns the mall, representatives said the property would be transitioned out of its portfolio at some point. Despite any uncertainty about the mall’s future, some are hopeful that things will turn around.
Valley View Mall is no longer considered to be one of PREIT’s core properties. Two of its Pennsylvania malls are also on that list.
“At Exton Square Mall, we have completed phase one of the redevelopment with the opening of Whole Foods and sale of the land parcel to a multifamily developer,” said Heather Crowell, senior vice president strategy and communications for PREIT.
During the fourth quarter earnings call, PREIT representatives did not explain how they expect the La Crosse property to be phased out of its portfolio at this time. However, they did express the need to transform vacant anchor stores.
“We’re maintaining flexibility as we seek partners for future redevelopment,” Crowell said.
Tradehome Shoes has been located at the mall since 1993. General Manager Merle Bries has seen the mall undergo many transformations over the years.
“Different businesses have definitely come and gone,” Bries said.
But loyal customers remained.
“It just depends on if you have the right personnel and if you have the right product to entice the clientele to come out and experience the mall,” Bries said.
The departure of the anchor stores has impacted the general traffic of the mall, but Bries believes some stores, including his own, don’t rely on their presence.
“Those are the businesses that are really succeeding, the people that aren’t necessarily reliant on just walk-by traffic,” Bries said.
While empty storefronts may not add to the curb appeal, he says that people will find the mall still has a lot to offer.
“I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with how our mall looks compared to a lot of them that are really struggling,” Bries said.
Breis said at this point, Tradehome Shoes would not like to leave the mall for a stand-alone storefront because of its customer base. He hopes to renew the company’s lease in the mall sometime next year.
News 8 contacted PREIT multiple times to see if they would comment further about the future of the mall. However, representatives did not return those requests. Valley View Mall’s general manager declined to comment for this story.
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