Roanoke County’s Tanglewood Mall was one of several shopping centers included in an MSNBC story about malls that are looking for nontraditional tenants to fill increasingly empty spaces.
In addition to Belk, JC Penney, A.C. Moore, Bath & Body Works and other stores, the mall is home to Miller-Motte Technical College and the Science Museum of Western Virginia. (The science museum moved out of downtown’s Center in the Square while that building undergoes renovations. The museum plans to return to CIS when construction is complete.)
Brad Boothe, the mall’s marketing manager, said that Tanglewood saw many benefits in having the college as a tenant. That opportunity, he said, opened the mall’s management to the possibility of leasing space to other non-retail tenants.
“We really saw more positives that could come out of it than negatives, especially considering that retailers aren’t looking to expand,” Boothe said.
The technical college, he said, enrolls students of a certain age that retailers want to target. And the college’s salon, which opened last month, blends well with the mall’s other retail offerings, Boothe said.
Tanglewood’s long-term plan is to have a mix of retail and non-retail tenants – such as the science museum – that will make the mall a destination for families.
“It’s not just that we want to bring in any type of business. We want it to be more family-focused,” Boothe said. “A place where you can come out and spend a whole day.”
Here’s the MSNBC story. Tanglewood is mentioned one minute into the video.
What do you think of Tanglewood’s move away from retail?