Will Staten Island Mall expansion positively impact holiday sales?
New retail and recreational space is drawing customers to New Springville stores; mall execs are hopeful that shoppers will spend money at the new site this season
After completing the first phase of its expansion in April, opening over 200,000 square-feet of new recreational and retail space and ushering in a renewed interest in brick and mortar shopping, the Staten Island Mall is reportedly thriving. Mall management reports that sales are up throughout all stores at the retail hub and the center’s reinvention has caused a spike in visitors from the outer boroughs. But will the new Mall expansion serve as a healthy competitor to online shopping and have a positive impact on holiday retail sales? Local retail execs are hopeful.
“I wish I had a crystal ball to predict how our retailers will perform this holiday season but sales are really dependent on a number of factors,” noted James Easley, senior general manager of the Staten Island Mall. “But what I can tell you is that mall traffic is off the charts and sales have been up by double digits since the opening of our core expansion several months ago. Everything points to us having a great Christmas, but we won’t know the final numbers until after the holiday season is complete.”
The Mall, which has been the borough’s main shopping destination since its opening in 1973, started its major redevelopment in 2015, when the property’s owner, Chicago-based General Growth Properties (GGP), decided to expand upon the mall’s 1.2 million square-foot property in New Springville.
A 242,000 square-foot block of stores and restaurants was added on the Richmond Avenue side, and a 732-space parking garage was constructed and opened last November. But in addition to the acquisition of dozens of posh new stores and a fully revamped food district, the Mall’s biggest change was the addition of attractions like Dave & Buster’s and the fast casual restaurant chain Shake Shack.
“These attractions have been bringing a lot more people to the Staten Island Mall over the past four or five months,” Easley said. “So not only do we have a number of new retailers that are creating a buzz, we have these recreational attractions that are a first for the Staten Island market too. So the Mall is more than just a place to pick up clothes and accessories. It’s an entire shopping experience.”
Easley said new tenants like Zara and The Container Store are performing well because they are nationally recognized brands that Staten Island customers have been waiting for. And there was a good deal of anticipation around the late November Barnes & Noble launch. But the GM notes that the Mall’s newest food concepts are perhaps the property’s most talked about venues.
“Tommy’s Tavern + Tap has seen a great demand and thanks in part to newcomers like Chick-Fil-A, Popeye’s and the Melt Shop, our Food District has become a destination of sorts,” Easely said. “People who haven’t been to this mall in several years are now revisiting because, yes, they can shop, but they can also make an entire day out of their shopping trip. We’ve found that the addition of these new restaurants and fast casual dining options are driving a whole new category of shoppers into our mall.”
And Easley says the expansion is not yet complete. Lidl Grocery Store, which has roots in Germany, will occupy another 36,000 square-feet of Mall property and an AMC Movie Theater — the borough’s first dine-in option — is slated to open in mid December.
“We’re creating reasons for shoppers to come and stay,” Easley concluded. “There’s only so much shopping you can do online. We’ve built a retail experience that everyone in the family can enjoy, and we’re very hopeful that shopping experience will continue to draw more and more customers to our borough.”