MUSKEGON — The new Lakes Mall will open Aug. 15 with most of its retail stores filled.
Between 85 percent and 90 percent of the retail space within the mall has been leased, General Manager Richard Pangratz said. Industry standard is to have about 80 percent of the stores filled when a mall opens.
The mall’s owner, Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CBL & Associates Properties, may land a few more tenants by the grand opening, although Pangratz expects any significant additional leasing interest from retailers to come after the mall opens.
“Some of the retailers want to see how the mall does before they come in. They’re not ready to get into the Muskegon market yet,” Pangratz said. “There’s a lot more potential out there, but it’s just a matter of waiting our turn.”
The 700,000-square-foot Lakes Mall consists of three anchor stores — Sears, Younkers and JC Penney — and more than 70 retail stores. Serving as a sub-anchor for the mall is Bed, Bath & Beyond, a New Jersey-based chain of home furnishings and domestic merchandise.
The Lakes Mall also will feature amenities such as a food court and children’s play area, as well as 10 businesses, most of them restaurants, on the grounds surrounding the site at Sternburg Road and Harvey Street.
CBL & Associates Properties is the nation’s third largest owner of malls and shopping centers. The company owns or manages 158 shopping centers and 51 malls in 26 states. CBL’s Michigan holdings include malls in Saginaw, Lansing and Midland, as well as five smaller strip malls.
Pangratz expects the anchor stores to open a few days before the mall’s Aug. 15 grand opening. All of the retailers within the mall are required under terms of their lease to open the same day, he said.
For now, tenants are working to set up their stores while CBL Associates completes the mall’s interior, as well as landscaping and signage on the exterior.
“It’s looking good,” Pangratz said. “It’s looking like a mall now.”