GRAND RAPIDS — Centerpointe shoppers may want to pick up a map of the mall because the building’s interior looks almost nothing like what, 45 weeks ago, was a scruffy, near-empty Eastbrook Mall.
As a result of the designs of Integrated Architecture and Rogvoy Architecture, the mall’s interior and exteriors have undergone major changes.
According to Jane Ross, president of Ross and Associates, the company responsible for the mall’s marketing, shoppers not only will find inside it stores new to Grand Rapids, but also a significantly larger and more airy place.
“They took over the Steketee’s wing,” Ross said, “and also added an additional wing.
“Shoppers will also notice more plants, the use of wood, carpeting and light. There are many skylights, with one large one in the center of the mall to open up the area and bring in more natural light. It is a lot lighter and brighter,” she said.
She said Integrated did the mall’s interior design and Rogvoy designed the exterior which also has changed markedly.
“The mall has a completely new appearance; everything is new,” Ross said. “I think everything that was from the old Eastbrook is gone — even the bathrooms are new.”
Work is also commencing on the exterior landscaping. The mall parking lot has been repaved. So have the lots serving surrounding businesses such as Arnie’s Restaurant and the Grand Rapids Brewing Company.
Trees and landscaping were added to give the area a more pleasing look.
Ross said the weekend of Oct. 25-28 will mark the mall’s grand opening, which will be celebrated throughout the mall.
While a few stores already have opened, many, including Nordstrom Rack and Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear, will open during the official celebration.
“For some of these stores, it is their first time to the area and they want to open with a bang at the grand opening,” Ross said.
T.J. Maxx, Klingman’s, Menards, Bargain Books, Golf Galaxy, Old Country Buffet, Chuck E. Cheese and the Secretary of State’s branch office all stayed open during renovation, but some will sport a new look.
T.J. Maxx has expanded by 6,664 square feet and will feature an expanded selection of discount-priced brand name clothing, accessories and gifts. Famous Footwear also has expanded, growing to 9,000 square feet.
New retailers in the mall, and some even new to the area, include Linens ‘N’ Things, which opened in August and is a home furnishings retailer with more than 30,000 items. The 46,000-square-foot store formerly housed the Burlington Coat Factory, which has moved to a new location on 28th Street SE.
Other new retailers include Christopher & Banks, CJ Banks, Ace Music, Millennium Nails and Creative Telecommunications, which will open in the form of a kiosk in November.
“We are currently 80 percent leased and are still hoping for more stores to join as soon as they see how nice of a place we have to offer,” Ross said.
“We want to offer stores that aren’t in any other malls in town, and we want to offer a selection of stores that represent value shopping and offer quality products at a lower price.”
Ross emphasizes, however, that Centerpointe is not an outlet mall.
Currently the grand opening is slated to have one major promotion with numerous others offered in individual stores. The major promotion for the weekend will be a $1 million giveaway that customers can win by coming to the mall and scratching a game card. If the customer isn’t the lucky $1 million winner, there are chances to win an instant $500 in cash or $10, $25, $100 and $200 gift certificates donated by the major anchors, but good for any store in the mall.
A local radio station will broadcast a live remote at Nordstrom Rack where customers can enter a drawing to win a 90-second shopping spree in the store.
While Ross admits the mall did lose some parking, she pointed out that with 44,000 spaces still left, parking should not be a problem.
“I think in all this is going to be a real family-pleasing mall,” Ross added. “There are some really nice touches that have really changed it from what it used to be. Customers will be surprised and pleased.”