Janesville Mall announces third new tenant, multimillion-dollar renovation plan

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Gina Duwe
February 19, 2015

JANESVILLE—Store managers in the Janesville Mall were excited to hear details Thursday about a multimillion-dollar renovation that begins next week.

“It's huge. It'll be inviting,” said Lea Fritzinger, owner of Orange Julius in the mall. “It's just so run down, here, it's long overdue.”

Construction begins Monday on the mall's first major renovation since 1998.

Mall manager Julie Cubbage said it will include new flooring, lighting, painting, benches, food court tables and chairs and renovated bathrooms. The upgrades will bring the mall up to par with other area centers such as East Towne Mall and West Towne Mall in Madison and CherryVale Mall in Rockford, Illinois, she said.

She also announced Rogers & Hollands jewelry store will join Dick's Sporting Goods and Ulta Beauty as new tenants opening this year.

Rogers & Hollands will open in about September in 1,500 square feet at center court in a portion of the space leased to the Diamond Center, which is moving to a new store on Milton Avenue.

Rogers & Hollands is a family-owned jeweler of more than 100 years. It has 76 locations in 10 Midwestern states.

CBL & Associates Properties, which owns the Janesville Mall at 2500 Milton Ave., is negotiating leases with retailers Cubbage couldn't yet name to fill space left when JCPenney closed in May.

The renovations will bring in more shoppers and help attract new national retailers, who want to be in malls that look modern, she said.

Construction started last month in the former JCPenney space, where Dick's Sporting Goods will lease 45,000 square feet and Ulta Beauty will occupy 10,000 square feet.

The mall has five vacant stores, Cubbage said, and she doesn't anticipate many vacancies after negotiations underway wrap up.

“I've confirmed numerous times with Sears, and ours Sears is staying, and our Radio Shack is also staying, so those are two positive things, even though both those retailers have seen closures in the last couple years,” she said. “I think it says a lot about Janesville Mall that ours are going to be open.”

The renovations were described as a multimillion-dollar project, but management declined to give a dollar amount.

The mall will look great inside and out, said Tabitha Ramsey, manager of Shoe Dept.

“The mall has looked this way for many, many years,” she said. “You can see older cracked tiles. The bathrooms are super small. This is going to be a very positive thing, especially the inside.”

Construction will be done through the night after the mall closes, Cubbage said, and workers will start ripping up the floor on the north end near the former JCPenney store. As the tile is ripped up, new tile and carpeting will be laid.

Outside, the blue stripe that wraps the building will be painted earth tones to blend with the anchor stores. The north and south entrances will be updated.

The bus stop has been moved from the north entrance to the area between Kohl's and Sears. A shelter and crosswalks will be added after the weather warms, Cubbage said.

The renovation is scheduled for completion by fall, when the mall will have new holiday decorations and a Santa set.

The needed updates will be nice for keeping customers shopping locally rather than seeing them drive to Madison or Rockford, Illinois, said Sandy Hewitt, store manager at Boston Store.

“I'm excited, and the mall needs the updating, obviously,” she said.

Hewitt said she thinks Boston Store has gained many of the customers who shopped at JCPenney, and the addition of Dick's and Ulta will bring in more traffic.

The changes are positive, Fritzinger said, and the public needs to know about them instead of negative news.

“So many people think stores are closing,” she said. “Change doesn't have to be bad.”

She has noticed a drop in business at her Orange Julius since JCPenney closed, but she's looking forward to the traffic the new stores will bring.

Operating in 600,000 square feet, the mall has more than 60 specialty stores and is anchored by Boston Store, Kohl's and Sears.

CBL & Associates Properties also owns East Towne and West Towne malls, which were renovated in 2003, West Towne Crossing in Madison and malls in Brookfield, Racine and Wausau.

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