University Mall changes

The daily inconveniences of renovation at University Mall may soon pay off; new dining options and chic new amenities for existing establishments are currently in the works.

A Wendy’s is scheduled to open in April, followed by an Italian restaurant which will open in October.  Some of the other improvements include a party room for the movie theatre and a patio for Brion’s Grille.  The mall will also gain a Verizon store and a tropical smoothie shop.

The company that owns the mall, Geo. H. Rucker Realty, started planning for an expansion overhaul of its exterior and drainage improvements over five years ago. After getting approval from the community, county and the mall’s tenants, the ambitious project started this past June.

Serving as a thriving teen hangout location, “University Mall was built in the mid 1970’s, around 1975-1976,” said Richard Wolff, President of Geo H. Rucker Realty which owns University Mall. Its businesses and outdoor spaces have been a focal point of the community for decades.

“I have a lot of memories there, but I’m happy that it’s being renovated,” senior Zachary Malone said.

Many recognize the need for mall renovations despite the minor nuisances that come with construction.

“It sounds like a great project and it will probably be safe,” senior Zachary Malone said.

Residents will have to contend with some minor disruptions as the project unfolds.  The supermarket Giant, for example, will close this April for major renovations and expansion before reopening in October.

Some, like junior Ruth Green, can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  “It will be good in 7 months, but right now it’s not,” Green said.

Overall, many students cannot wait for the dust to settle and for the refurbished facility to be fully operational once again with brand new stores and restaurants.