By Rosemay Ramsay
The mission that started in May 2014 for the renovation of Green Acres Mall has only just begun. With the arrival of Century 21 this October, and Dick’s Sporting Goods in the spring, many more changes are in the works for the Valley Stream, Long Island-based shopping center.
Amaka Oweazim, the mall’s marketing manager, set out to make Green Acres mall not only more popular, but also more diverse and accessible. After changes to expand retailer H&M started, it wasn’t long before the new arrivals of other stores such as Chipotle, Panera Bread and Kay Jewelers.
“We know that Green Acres has great potential due to its size and location,” she said adding, “We are fully committed to investing in the property and further enhancing the overall experience.” Along with the shopping center’s facelift, the construction project also calls for work on the mall’s entryways to make the mall more accessible to consumers who hail from as far away as Brooklyn and nearby Queens along with other Nassau County communities.
Century 21, coming October 27 2015 will be located inside of the mall on the first level. Dick’s Sporting Goods will arrive in the spring and will replace the Sunrise Multiplex Movie Theatre which closed in February 2015.
Area residents believe the upgraded mall will attract more national retailers. Valley Stream resident Francilla Aguilera said the positive improvements are well worth the wait.
“I was so anxious when Chipotle finally opened and now Century 21”, she said adding “I don’t care how long it takes. I just can’t wait for it to finally be in mall.”
For other mall shoppers, like Marnay Foxworth from Saint Albans, Queens, some changes occurred too fast. “I just wanted the movie theater to stay,” she said. “Now I have to go out of my way to see a movie.” Oweazim said the renovations are only the beginning, so maybe someday soon there will be another movie theater.
Green Acres Mall has not been changed since it was under its previous ownership of Vornado Realty Trust in 2006-07. Now that Macerich, a real estate agent, bought
the mall for $500 million in January 2013 the renovations can continue to flourish and cause inspiration to other companies surrounding it.
For instance, The Applebee’s Bar and Grill in Green Acres Mall has also been remodeled. Those restaurants want to keep up with the changes and new competition inside of the mall. However, some retails stores were unable to keep up with the reduced sales due to the remodeling so they were shut down and replaced.
Applebee’s bartender and key employee, Robert Lambert, is trying to make the best out of the situation. “The other day we had to close early for the mall’s reconstruction for the loss of power around 11p.m. and we lost our late night rush,” he said. “But I know this is just temporary and will pay off in time.”
The changes to the mall due to the ongoing construction are temporarily limiting to employees and shoppers, but the changes have provided new jobs for 220 people for 58 different positions at Century 21 and 525 people for 114 different jobs at Dick’s Sporting Goods. So despite the transitional period, the Valley Stream’s Green Acres Shopping Mall is slowly, but surely, becoming successful.