Indoor Malls in the QC Start New, Different Decade

NorthParkMall

On Thursday, July 11th, 2013 – NorthPark Mall in Davenport celebrated its 40th anniversary. Meanwhile, less than four miles away, a different kind of mall is taking shape on Elmore Avenue.

Workers are building the steel frame of what soon will be called Elmore Marketplace on Elmore Avenue between 53rd Street and Kimberly Road. As previously reported, Elmore Marketplace will include a Holiday Inn and Suites, J Bar Restaurant, and several upscale, national retailers including a DSW Shoe Warehouse, a Banana Republic Factory Store, Carter’s, Charming Charlie, Lane Bryant, Pier 1 Imports, and Beauty Brands.

The project is being developed by the Heart of America Group, headquartered in Moline. President/CEO, Mike Whalen, says the strip mall will be turned over to retailers in January 2014, with openings expected soon after.

“It’s different stores and a number of stores that don’t traditionally go inside a mall,” he told News 8’s Angie Sharp.

Indoor malls are changing, he says. Around the world, malls are adding more entertainment venues and “things that traditionally weren’t in the old style regional indoor mall.” Some shoppers say it’s because malls are becoming less popular.

“I only go once a year at Christmastime,” explains Steve Kiewiet from Park View, Iowa. “I’ve got a JCPenney charge card and I buy my wife a piece of ‘bling’… that’s it!”

Kiewiet says the Elmore Marketplace model is a unique concept and make more sense – “Why not do a little shopping when you’re in a motel experience for maybe the Bix or any events that are happening in the Quad Cities?”

Other shoppers say there will always be a place for malls.

“I think people will always go to the mall,” says Carissa Orcutt from Walcott, Iowa. “They’ve been around for quite some time and i think people just like the atmosphere. They like to go and walk around and shop and you get people out here from all ages.”

“We like to go mainly to Barnes & Noble,” says Sarah Erwin from Davenport. “We like to hang around there and read books and stuff and then we’ll go mosey around and see what sales are going on at the stores.”

Whalen says Elmore Marketplace is not meant to compete with NorthPark or SouthPark Mall, but rather offer something different to the retail community.

“We were losing $100 million based on the government statistics of fashion sales within this market… so we tried to bring in some unique retailers that were not part of this landscape.”

Furthermore, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce says Elmore Marketplace is a sign that the community is growing and doing well.

“There’s room for retail shopping centers,” explains Paul Rumler, Executive Vice President of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. “There’s room for legit malls. There’s room for downtown shops and here in the Quad Cities you’re seeing all of those be active right now.”

Rumler says a Task Force is also very active right now working on ways to redevelop SouthPark Mall, which will also celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.

With Old Navy closing in May and its property assessment dropping, the city may give SouthPark Mall a tax increment financing, or TIF, District. Rumler says the task force is also in talks with the Illinois Department of Transportation to get an intersection off John Deere Road for new access to SouthPark Mall.

“That way, we can take advantage fully of the major crossroads of Interstate 74 and John Deere Road, which is the highest traffic pattern in all of the Quad Cities Area.”

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