Mall undergoes remodeling

Business Bits

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Two weeks ago I told a ghostly story of 1-year-old grandson Max and I being the only humans in the huge, empty hall of Silver Lake Mall about noon on a Tuesday. Many storefronts were dark and empty, and the only people inside most of the working stores were clerks.

Fortunately, that should change. It will take some time for the remodeling process, however, nearly all the spaces in the 350,000-square-foot shopping mall have been newly occupied or leased for future occupancy. Several smaller stores moved within the mall, allowing spaces to consolidate so stores wanting larger spaces could have them.

One major occupant will be Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts which will open early in 2013 in 18,000 square feet combined from small spaces occupied by Maurice's, Graffiti Skate Shop, Bulldog Cigar, Radio Shack and Huckleberry Thicket. Pre-construction work has begun, and these smaller tenants either have moved or are moving.

Huckleberry Thicket is relocating to two spaces, one in center court, Bulldog Cigar is now by Samuel's Jewelry, and Radio Shack has consolidated with its store on Best Avenue.

Although the large Jo-Ann Fabric store is good news for the mall, it's not good news for Midtown Coeur d'Alene as it will be leaving the block it shares with Safeway on Fourth Street. One spy said she heard Safeway would be expanding into the Jo-Ann space. That seems like a good move, but a Safeway honcho told me, "Not in this economy." The largest fabric-craft business in the nation, Jo-Ann has more than 750 stores in 48 states. Its headquarters is in Hudson, Ohio, although two of its four corporate officers (all male) are from Portland State University and The Evergreen State College in Olympia. Check www.joann.com.

Here's more SLM news

You can't help but see the huge Timberline Trading ads because the store is relocating from its anchor position in the mall's south end. Its 44,000-square-foot space originally was an Emporium store when the mall opened in 1988. A sister store to Black Sheep, Timberline is going into a 5,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Americantiques (now on Fourth Street a block up from Sherman Avenue) and a 3,300-square-foot space between Claire's and the new Jo-Ann store (across from Macy's Junior store).

Nope. The huge anchor space Timberline is leaving won't be empty for long. A combination of demolition/construction will begin in November as...

"We are signing a major national sporting goods retailer," said Grove Ayers, general manager of Silver Lake Mall. "Sorry, we just can't announce the name yet."

Ayers said the store is one currently not in our area. But this new anchor is part of "redevelopment and renewal that will headline most of the next six months for us," he said.

More moves and Wiggett's Too!

Relic Moon relocated to a larger (2,000-square-foot) space next to Bath & Body Works, and the halls soon will be filled with seasonal vendors including favorites See's Candies and Hickory Farms.

A new tenant, Wiggett's Too, will be coming into the 4,700-square-foot space formerly occupied by Hallmark-Coachhouse Gifts, which consolidated into its Ironwood Square (near Albertson's) store. We'll have the details on Wiggett's Too in this space next week, but it's an extension of the Wiggett's Antique Mall downtown.

Although the holiday shopping will be shadowed by all the construction and moves, the future looks good for Silver Lake Mall. Just one 1,675-square-foot space remains available. It's near the Food Court, where the former Orange Julius space also is open.

"We'd love to get a good user in there, maybe a coffee vendor," Ayers said. SLM also could use a good, major-name restaurant, maybe even on one of the mall's 40-plus-acres' pads along Government Way.

Hang on for these Tidbits

- The former Powder River Saloon on East Sherman is now Gus's Cigar Club.

- The combo of Jennifer's CDA Cars and The Repo Shack are gone from Government Way (across from Wholesale Sports).

- Downtown CdA's popular Fire Artisan Pizza will open a second store at 816 Sprague Ave. in downtown Spokane.

- Aaargh. Last week I wrote about Trader Joe's popular two-buck chuck wine. Its actually Charles Shaw (not Schwabb) wine. Several readers whined.

- The huge pit being dug at the Strahorn-Honeysuckle intersection in Hayden is for a sewage facility.

- Style Note: All right is two words (not "alright"). "Already" (meaning previously) and "all ready" (meaning "now") can be one or two words although the "all" on the second meaning isn't necessary. If you're "all ready," you're "ready."

- The fattest knight was Sir Cumference, who acquired his size from too much pi.

- Contact Nils Rosdahl at nrosdahl@cdapress.com.

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