GRAND ISLAND, Neb — Despite the Grand Island mall earning the title "zombie mall," it still has some life in it.
To see for yourself, Brian Danner invites you to walk in his shoes.
“Old school, we measure feet, put your shoes on,” the manager of Tradehome Shoes said.
Tradehome's been a fixture at the Conestoga Mall in Grand Island.
“Even people that are buying shoes from us currently say they're closing you guys down, right? Nope we're not closing down,” Danner said.
$250 MILLION INVESTMENT UNDERWAY TO TRANSFORM 'ZOMBIE MALL' INTO MODERN RETAIL HUB
The $225 million Conestoga Marketplace redevelopment, means the north half of the property is being torn down but stores like Brian's simply moved.
“Us, Buckle, Maurice’s, Glik’s will be here the whole time,” he said.
Tradehome will be part of the new mall.
“It’s going to be really, really cool and nice,” Danner said.
TARGET IS COMING TO GRAND ISLAND
It'll take about two years for Target to open and other national retailers are expected but several current tenants are sticking it out.
“For a long time before this project people would ask are they going to do something with the mall? Now they're doing something,” Danner said.
IS CONESTOGA MALL PROJECT A SIGN OF RETAIL APOCALYPSE OR BRICK AND MORTAR REVIVAL?
Visitors to the chamber of commerce downtown also walk around a construction fence these days.
“We do have some understanding and empathy,” Cindy Johnson said.
It's a much smaller scale but Johnson knows projects big and small can be disruptive.
“Having fence around the mall and obvious demolition causes people to stop and wonder if there’s anything open and available,” she said.
The chamber is using social media to highlight the stores still open. Yes, some have closed and others have been locked in litigation with Woodsonia, the developer but the declining property is still getting attention.
“We would encourage people to consider this as an investment in our community,” Johnson said.
Tradehome puts its best foot forward with merchandise in the corridor, trying to catch people’s attention.
“We have crazy deals going,” Danner said.
He’s doing it in hopes good foot traffic will continue.
“It's going to be awesome when it's done but in between we need people to come see us,” he said.