The former Dillards store at Macon Mall is coming down.
Demolition crews began work inside the 172,000-square-foot structure this month, and the tear-down is expected to be completed by the end of April, said Coles Hull, marketing analyst with Augusta-based Hull Storey Gibson Cos., which owns the mall.
When the company bought the 1.4 million-square-foot mall in 2010, one of its first moves was to demolish the 423,000-square-foot east wing that was added in the late 1990s. But the former Dillards store was left standing -- separate from the mall -- with the hope it would be leased or sold.
That didnt happen, so the building is being torn down and will be replaced with a green space.
The demolition phase should be finished by the end of April, and then we will begin landscaping, Hull said in an e-mail. Everything should be finished by the end of May.
After opening in 1975, the mall went through several changes over the years and fell into disrepair before Hull Storey Gibson bought it three years ago. Since then, the company has demolished part of it and upgraded the rest.
New lighting and carpet were installed, and the skylights were replaced through the mall corridor. Large, historic photos of Macon and Bibb County line freshly painted walls. The stairs and escalator in the food court were removed, and a new facade and parking lot were installed for JCPenney.
Within the past 12 months, three major tenants have moved in: Smokn Pig BBQ opened a 15,000-square-foot restaurant, and retailers Dry Falls Outfitters and B. Turners opened in a total of about 33,500 square feet of space.
Part of Hull Storey Gibsons business plan is purchasing struggling malls and turning them around.
But it doesnt happen overnight, co-owner John Gibson said when Smokn Pig opened last March.
It is not a one-month or one-year thing. It is a multi-year effort and ... we are committed to it, Gibson said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.