WARWICK, R.I. — Two new tenants, a retailer and a restaurant, have committed to joining Burlington Stores in the restructured former Rhode Island Mall.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is slated to move from its Bald Hill Road location into a space in the renovated main building at the shopping center, Mayor Scott Avedisian’s press secretary, Courtney Marciano, confirmed.
Dick’s is seeking approval from the city’s Zoning Board for larger-than-usual exterior signage. Their request for a zoning variance is currently under review.
West Coast chain BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse will be in the freestanding building that was the Sears Auto Center. Marciano said the Planning Department has site plans to restructure the building into space for two restaurants and additional retail space.
Though both Dick’s and the restaurant have committed to leasing space at 650 Bald Hill Rd., they have yet to announce opening dates.
Baltimore-based MCB Real Estate co-owns the former Rhode Island Mall with Acadia Realty Trust, a New York-based real estate investment company. They began in fall 2015 the process of “de-malling” the property to create a redeveloped shopping center.
Of the 160,000 square feet MCB and Acadia Realty Trust owns, 30,000 to 40,000 square feet are still available to lease, according to Christopher Conlon, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Acadia Realty Trust.
Conlon anticipates the space will ultimately hold six to eight retailers. He said other retailers are “highly interested” in becoming tenants of the Warwick space, but would not disclose details until the leases were confirmed.
“We will be fully stabilized and operating in 12 to 24 months,” Conlon said. Acadia Realty Trust and MCB aim to ultimately showcase a range of retailers to create a shopping plaza specific to the needs of the Warwick area, according to Conlon.
The restructured shopping center will feature an open layout where shoppers enter from stores from the outside, similar to Garden City Center in Cranston.
Though the plaza has yet to receive a new name, it will no longer be called the Rhode Island Mall. “It is not a mall,” Conlon said.
Burlington Stores, formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, opened its new location in the mall building in September 2016. It joined the Walmart, Kohl’s and Sears stores operating there, the latter of which was unaffected by the Sears Auto Center closing.
The Rhode Island Mall opened in 1967 as the Midland Mall, and at its peak featured 100 stores and restaurants before it closed.