New stores begin to open, renovations continue at Independence Mall

The goal is to complete renovations by spring 2021

New stores begin to open, renovations continue at Independence Mall
Stores begin to open as the mall continues renovations. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Two and a half years after announcing redevelopment plans for Independence Mall, new stores begin to welcome customers.

Five Below opened for shoppers Sept. 27. The specialty discount store had a steady stream of customers Monday.

“I just want to keep seeing businesses come," said Jody Dorsey, who shopped at Five Below Monday. "They bring jobs, stimulates the economy, makes people happy so bring it on.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods is currently hiring around 40 full-time and part-time employees with a goal to open sometime in October. According to a spokesperson with Lidl, an opening date yet to be set for the second location of the grocery store. An Ulta, First Watch, Jersey Mike’s, Sushi Masa, Aye Toro, Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, and Blaze Pizza will open at the mall location.

According to Rachel Wille, a spokesperson with Brookfield Properties, work is being done on both the streetscape and the front of the mall. They are also in the process of installing LED lights in the parking lot, as well as new signage for the property.

“Gives you more of an outdoor-indoor aspect and it just makes more functionality I think instead of it being so closed and I think especially with the pandemic going on it makes perfect sense," said Courtney Scholz, a shopper.

In addition to the renovations outside, work is being done inside the mall.

“Inside the mall, we added LED lighting, restroom upgrades, new tile in our center court and food court, as well as new furniture in the food court and common areas,” said Wille. “We are eager to share these changes with the community and look forward to the completion of the project as a whole.”

“It’s a great location,” said shopper Jody Dorsey. “It’s a part of Wilmington. I’m glad that they’re doing something like this to keep it going especially keeping the economy going and hopefully they’ll get more businesses but I think this is a great update to it.”

Wille says their goal is to reach full completion by spring of 2021.

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