Major changes are ahead for the Dover Mall, which is in the middle of expanding its retail offerings. A Men's Warehouse was recently added near Boscov's, while Rue 21 will be moving this spring. Charlie's Philly Steaks will be introduced to the food court in the next few weeks, and the mail will be adding more stores by the end of 2013.
"Our parent company, Simon Property Group, is the largest retail real-estate holder in the world and they are always letting retailers know that opportunities exist," said Tricia Southard, director of marketing and business development for the Dover Mall.
A 50,000-square-foot anchor store will be added to the front of the mall between Sears and Macy's. Southard refused to comment on which stores would be moving in, but according to a City of Dover Planning Commission agenda for its Sept. 7, 2012 meeting, a public hearing and site development plan review was held to discuss the construction of a 53,183 square-foot Dick's Sporting Goods store at the mall.
The entrance to the facility currently known as "Entrance One" will be eliminated and the new storefront will serve as a new entrance, with seven new stores lining the hallway connecting the anchor store to the mall.
"There has been a lot of activity recently," Southard said. "We're looking at a real growth period."
The new development and addition of stores in the mall is an attempt at filling retail voids in the Dover market, so that shoppers won't travel out of town to meet their needs, Southard said.
The construction of the new segment of the mall will be funded by the future tenant and by the Dover Mall landlord. The tenant's portion of the work to be complete is still out for bid, and the project is currently still in the preparation phase, Southard said, but work will begin on the addition next month and is slated to be complete by the end of 2013.
Southard declined to comment on the cost of the addition.
The mall currently employs roughly 1,000 people between tenants and management staff, but the addition of the anchor store and seven additional stores will allow for that number to rise, Southard said.
The number of jobs that could be created due to the expansion is unclear, Southard said, as that number will depend on individual stores' sizes and staffing policies.
"What we did with the Men's Warehouse is a sneak peek of what we are doing with the anchor store," she said.
Right now, the Dover Mall is focusing on listening to customer requests and adding more diversified retail offerings to the facility, Southard said. The mall's officials and parent company are currently in the process of analyzing amenities and what might be needed in the area.
Page 2 of 2 - "We have a lot going on," she said. "We are very excited about 2013."