Macon Mall co-owner of Hull Storey Gibson Companies, LLC John Gibson says that once Belk closes its Macon Mall location, they'll say goodbye to the storefront.
Standing in front of Belk, Gibson explains how they'll demolish the Belk building and then create an all-glass entrance that will open into the mall.
He says it'll add a dramatic look to the side of the mall that faces Mercer University Drive while also adding parking.
When describing what success looks like for this mall, Gibson says, "This really gets back to our view of retail business in America which we think is overpopulated with retailers and there is too much space. That combined with the long-running recession means there are gonna be fewer retailers and fewer numbers of square feet devoted to retail purposes."
He says, "We are going to be reducing the size of the Macon Mall."
At its peak, it was a little over a million square feet, and when they're done, it'll be about 800,000 square feet.
"We had no expectation that we would be dominant in this market. We recognize that there are shopping alternatives."
Belk closes its doors in September and then the demolition can begin.
Gibson also says Phase II of the mall's renovation will include replacing the stairs in front of the food court with escalators.
He says Phase II would also bring a side entrance to JCPenney. On the side where the mall's West Wing once was, they'll clear out the rubble, add grass and open up the entrance with glass doors.
"We expect to finish our work (on Phase II) in October."
He says they own the Dillard's building, and will either seek to add a business there, or demolish it. Those plans are not concrete yet.
"Our intent is to have three anchor (stores) here and to re-tenant our shop space."
Two new stores, recently announced, open their doors next to Smok'n Pig Barbecue on Oct. 1: Turner's and Dry Falls Outfitters.
Gibson says they hand over the keys to Office Depot on Sept. 1st, and then the company will begin to move into the outparcel where Linens 'n Things was once located on Eisenhower Parkway.
Bringing new business in requires first investing the capital.
"Retailers say 'Show me first. We want to see what you have done.'"
Gibson would not discuss the cost of the demolition and current restoration, but said it's enough to upset him.
He says most of the materials from demolition went to recycling and part of the rubble will be used in the new parking lot.
While Phase II involves restoration and adding more retail stores to the Macon Mall, Phase I involved the West Wing's demolition, completed in November 2011.
Phase III will focus on bringing a store to the former Sears' location. Macon Mall's Sears closed in May 2012, along with 120 other Sears' stores nationwide.