New Stores at Fayette Mall Rendering
Since the redevelopment of its former Sears location in 2014 into a new corridor of retail and dining outlets, Fayette Mall has reinvigorated its overall tenant mix, inspired additional renovations by existing retailers and boosted its overall sales volume, said Sarah Enlow, Fayette Mall marketing director.
With an occupancy rate consistently above 96 percent, the 1.1 million-square-foot super-regional shopping center, owned by CBL & Associates, serves a growing base of customers from Central Kentucky and beyond as a premier shopping destination, Enlow added. The upcoming opening of The Summit a short drive away, on Nicholasville Road at Man o’ War Boulevard, is seen more as a sign of that surging demand than a market saturation concern.
“With the Summit, it just shows the strength of Lexington and the market potential that we have here,” Enlow said. “You see so many more retail [stores] and restaurants opening in the area. … It just shows how much potential there is in Lexington, and it provides opportunity for Fayette Mall to grow with the market, too.”
Fayette Mall’s progressive push to remodel itself and create more room for popular offerings such as The Cheesecake Factory and the clothing store H&M has capitalized on that market potential. Its 2014 improvements added roughly 115,000 square feet and created 29 new store locations as part of the facility’s new central wing.
While still working to retain a broad-based tenant mix that provides something for everyone, the mall has aimed to refine not only its look and its store selection but also its services and amenities, to create a more high-end shopping experience. A baby grand piano was installed in the new central wing to provide musical entertainment for strolling shoppers, and the mall recently added seven-day complimentary valet service at its central entrance near the Cheesecake Factory, for consumers who want to skip the hassle of trolling the parking lots for an open space. On rainy days, Enlow said, umbrella-toting valets will even be waiting to escort shoppers from their cars to the front door.
“We wanted to make it an upscale retail experience, and [the valet service] is just one more way to make your shopping experience better while you are here,” Enlow said. “I think it’s really going to be a hit during the holiday season.”
Since the 2014 expansion, multiple stores, including Coach, Victoria’s Secret, the Disney Store, Bath and Body Works, Express and FYE, have added to the improvements by revamping their own shops, Enlow said, and more renovations are still in the works. Build-a-Bear Workshop is currently in the process of retooling its space, with plans to open its new, more experiential Discovery Store concept in mid-May. American Eagle also has plans to rework its Fayette Mall location to expand its Aerie concept.
New stores, next trends
Negotiations are underway for a new restaurant for the front exterior of the middle wing, in the space that was formerly occupied by Travinia, and the mall is working toward the addition of a new women’s clothing boutique in the near future as well. Additional ongoing improvements planned for the property include a revamp of the food court, along with new seating throughout the property and an upgrade for its play area, Enlow said.
Although media on the national level has reported a dim outlook for shopping malls, that hasn’t been Fayette Mall’s experience, Enlow said. The most recent traffic survey data available indicates that the mall has an estimated 75,000 shoppers every weekend, and that number roughly doubles during the holiday season.
“A lot of the headlines and negativity that surround the retail industry, they are overblown,” Enlow said. “There are certainly some headwinds, but along with store closures comes also the opportunity for new stores and concepts to break into the market.”
Understanding new shopping trends and giving consumers more novel and satisfying shopping experiences have been key as Fayette Mall continues to grow and evolve, Enlow said. In March, it launched its new Fayette Mall Pop-Up Shop in the former Limited store location between Victoria’s Secret and Francesca’s, a by-the-week storefront leasing opportunity for local or regional businesses that may have never had a mall location — or perhaps any brick-and-mortar storefront at all. The space can be rented on a weekly basis for $1,000, with fixtures already in place and signage and social media promotion provided by the mall.
“It gives a taste of the mall store concept to local businesses without the long-term commitment of a lease, and it provides a fresh new shopping destination for our visitors every week,” Enlow said. “It could lead to new tenants in the future, but it’s also really cool because it gives our shoppers something new to look forward to out here every single week.”
Interested businesses that would like more information about the Pop-Up Shop can contact Amy McGee, Fayette Mall’s specialty leasing manager, by email at email@example.com.