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Resurrection for Foothills Mall


It’s getting a Barnes & Noble superstore, and Cineplex Odeon will add eight screens.

Foothills Mall got a much-needed boost this morning.

Barnes & Noble announced it will open a superstore there, and mall managers said Cineplex Odeon will add eight theaters, bringing the total to 15.

The announcements this morning were the first of what mall owners and tenants hope will be a string of stores and businesses that will spark life in the near-empty Foothills Mall.

The Barnes & Noble superstore will be 41,000 square feet – more than three times the size of the company’s store on East Broadway and South Craycroft Road and more than half again as large as Borders bookstore on North Oracle Road.

It will be the largest bookstore in Tucson, with 150,000 titles, a music department, a children’s department and a Software Etc. store, with CD-ROM titles, PC software and video games.

It also will have a cafe featuring Starbucks coffee and The Republic of Tea loose-leaf teas, gourmet sandwiches and deserts.

The two-story store, with escalators and a central atrium-like area going through the second floor, will take over part of what formerly was Dillard’s department store.

Construction should begin by the end of January and the store should open late this summer.

Barnes & Noble will be a “great lead tenant,’ said Bill Kelley, mall manager.

He would not release the construction costs for Barnes & Noble or the theaters.

The Cineplex Odeon theater will be the second-largest movie theater in terms of number of screens, following only the 16-screen Century Park theater.

The tenant announcements this morning were part of a presentation by mall manager Bourn Properties. About 180 people were there.

Bourn Properties President Don Bourn and Kelley laid out a four-pronged plan for the mall:

* Outlet-type stores, which Bourn called value retail and promotional anchors.

* Entertainment, including nightclubs and possibly live theater, in addition to movies.

“People need other reasons to come to the mall,’ Bourn said. “It has to be a fun experience.’

* More restaurants.

* A potential open market area that may be a farmers’ market one week and a crafts market the next.

“We want to include a local retail flavor as opposed to typical regional malls, which all look the same,’ Bourn said.

He said he is in lease negotiations with seven to eight other potential tenants and hopes to announce more businesses within the next two months.

All this was good news to tenants there who have suffered from customer neglect since Foley’s and Dillard’s department stores pulled out in June 1994.

“It’s been very difficult these last 12 months,’ said mall tenant Matthew Moutafis, owner of the Sagebrush Gallery at Foothills Mall. “We’ve been waiting a long time. It’s a great day for mall tenants and mall management.’

Berta Wright, owner of Berta Wright Gallery Shops and a 10-year tenant at Foothills Mall, agreed.

“The addition will be wonderful. I hope they get a lot more.’

And at least one area resident also was upbeat about the news.

“I’m just thrilled to death,’ said Ginny Dobbs, a Northwest Side resident who used to shop at Foothills Mall and now takes a daily walk in the mall. “When Dillard’s and Foley’s left, I almost cried.’

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