By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
It’s official, the up-scale American department store Von Maur will be moving into the Woodland Mall.
Woodland Mall’s parent company, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust or PREIT, announced today that Von Maur will open its first store in the Grand Rapids region at the mall, located near the corner of 28th Street and the East Beltline. Von Maur has two stores in Michigan, one at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor and another at Laurel Park Place in Livonia.
The 90,000-square-foot store will fill a portion of the 313,000 square feet where Sears is currently located. In January, Sears Holding Company announced it would be closing 26 Sears stores and 78 KMarts, which included the Sears store at Woodland Mall. That Sears store was one of the first tenants of Woodland Mall, which opened in 1968.
“The redevelopment of Woodland Mall is an incredible opportunity to allocate capital to fortify one of the strongest assess in our portfolio, said PREIT CEO Joseph F. Coradino in a prepared statement on the company’s website. “Through the recapture of Sears and signing of Von Maur; we’re proactively reducing our exposure to select department stores, while simultaneously offering exclusive, high-quality retail and dining experiences that will continue to fuel traffic and strong sales at the property.”
Von Maur along with an array of small shop spaces and about 30,000 square feet of “quality polished” casual restaurants will be added by 2016, according to PREIT’s press release,.
“Woodland Mall represents the ideal addition to our existing stores in Michigan,” said Von Maur President Jim von Maur. “We are excited to grow our loyalty customer base by providing a high level of service and a unique assortment of merchandise. We look forward to becoming a premier shopping destination in Grand Rapids for years to come.”
Founded in 1872 in Davenport, Iowa, Von Maur currently operates 31 stores in 14 states. The family-owned company is known for brand name and specialty apparel, shoes, accessories and gifts, and features products from leading brands such as Eileen Fisher, Free People, Coach, Joe’s Jeans and Tommy Bahama. Von Maur also offers a number of customer service benefits such as free gift wrapping and shipping services.
PREIT owns several mall properties, with the bulk of its holdings in Pennsylvania. The Woodland Mall is the company’s only Michigan property.
When the announcement came of the closing to the Sears stores, PREIT stated it has been working to reduce the number of Sears and KMart stores in its portfolio from 27 to 10 since 2012.