Victoria Mall to get new look, stores

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

June 20, 2014 at 1:20 a.m.

Several new stores are moving into the Victoria Mall, including Charlotte Russe and  Spencer's Gifts.

Several new stores are moving into the Victoria Mall, including Charlotte Russe and Spencer's Gifts.   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate

Victoria Mall will have a new look in early 2015.

Plans include a new interior and exterior, said Coles Doyle, marketing director with Hull Storey Gibson, which owns the mall.

"Now is a great time to put that investment in the mall," Doyle said. "There is a lot of potential in the city, and it's an exciting time for Victoria and the mall."

The renovations will be completed by the Hull Storey Gibson construction team that handles all the projects on their properties, she said.

Victoria Mall's last renovation was nine years ago. These renovations will focus on improving the overall shopping experience for all the customers who visit.

"We'll improve the lighting, put in new carpet and new paint. It will be very light, bright and welcoming," Doyle said. Currently, there are skylights as well as hanging lights, and carpet covers most of the mall with some tile around the seating areas.

The rear entrance that faces John Stockbauer Drive will get a facelift, she said.

The project's cost was not disclosed.

The company also does not report its occupancy rates in terms of percentages or numbers, but Doyle said the mall is almost full. Six vacant spaces are visible in the mall, including a long-standing vacancy where Scoreboard Sports Bar once operated before it closed in 2010.

The new stores, Charlotte Russe and Spencer's Gifts, are remodeling their spaces and will open later this year. According to the Charlotte Russe website, the store offers clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories for fashionable young women. The store will open July 3.

Spencer's Gifts, which is scheduled to open in the fall, Doyle said, specializes in entertainment gifts for shoppers ages 18 to 24.

Marlena Carter, 31, of Victoria, said she was most excited about a new place to shop for clothes and shoes.

"I'm excited that we are finally getting one," she said, referring to Charlotte Russe. She's shopped at the locations in San Marcos, Houston and Austin. "I think it's going to do really well."

Carter said she does most of her shopping at Victoria Mall. She said the renovations would be good, but the food court needs a little bit of help.

"We need more variety," she said.

Because Hull Storey Gibson, which is based in Georgia, is only in the preliminary stages of planning the renovation, it's too early to say what the food court upgrades will include, Doyle said.

"At this time, we are focused more on the atmospheric and aesthetic changes inside," she said.

For Rosalie Sykora, 66, of Victoria, a renovation would be nice, but she said it's nice as it is.

She visits the mall at least three times a week to get some exercise and to do some people watching.

"The mall has a good sense for what people want," Sykora said. "But you're not going to please everyone. You'll always have someone who isn't happy with it."

She said she enjoys everything the mall offers from the seasonal decorations to the public fairs hosted by community businesses and organizations. Halloween is her favorite holiday because she gets to see all the families and children dressed up to trick-or-treat.

Sykora moved to Victoria in 1999 and remembers when the carousel was a big hit with the families. She said she'd like to see that return so kids have more entertainment.

Ruben Zapata, 57, agreed with Sykora. Though he lives in New Jersey, he has family who live in Victoria. He said a carousel would add to the family atmosphere.

As far as renovations, he said it's a good thing they're planning to replace the carpet.

"They need to put in some marble floors or tile. It's all stained. They need to replace it," Zapata said.

In the past, John Gibson, a partner with Hull Storey Gibson Cos., was reported as saying the renovations were scheduled for 2012 and would include interior and exterior upgrades. Doyle said it may have been a timing or planning conflict that postponed the project.

"The time is now, and we are excited to get started," she said.

With all the growing and expanding Victoria is experiencing, Doyle said, a lot of different retailers are considering the market. The company is constantly talking to potential tenants, and there will be a lot of work to be done in the next few years, she said.



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