HOLLAND, MI — As the final phase of the $25 million makeover of Westshore Mall is finishing up, there is now a new project on the horizon: Figuring out what to do with an empty anchor store.
JCPenney, one of the Holland shopping center’s second largest tenants, will shutter in June.
The closure announced Friday, March 17 is among seven locations in Michigan, and 138 across nationwide that will displace 5,000 workers. The mass closings will save Penney $200 million per year, the company said.
Liquidation sales are slated to begin in April.
The Holland area shopping center is the near the end of its transformation from interior mall to outdoor shopping center with a mix stores, offices and restaurants. The change shrank and reconfigured the layout to 331,493 square feet of leasable space.
The demalling process wrapped up in 2016. Construction is now focused on the build outs of individual stores where leases have been signed. The 40-acre property sits along U.S. 31, between James and Felch streets.
It’s too soon to say if the 50,921-square-foot Penney space will be leased by one retailer or carved up for many, said Jean Ramirez, Westshore’s general manager.
There has been interest by retailers wanting a larger footprint than was available, she said.
“While we hate to lose any tenant, we are always researching the industry for potential new tenants and now have the opportunity to continue some discussions with those tenants that needed a larger space,” Ramirez said.
News of the Holland store’s closing wasn’t unexpected for two Penney shoppers on Friday.
“I understand what is going on. It’s the Amazon effect,” said Matt Searl, as he was exiting the store on Friday evening, carrying a bag of long johns he bought on sale.
The Holland residents admits he shops Amazon and other online retailers. The last time he was at the Penney store was a year ago to make the same purchase.
Linda Yonker visits the store more frequently. She comes about once a month to pick up items she ordered from the Penny’s website to avoid a shipping cost. After the store closes in June, the West Olive resident figures she’ll switch the pickup location to Penny’s Muskegon location.
In place of JCPenny, Yonker says she would really like to see an Ikea store — although ready-to-assemble furniture chain tends to build for a much bigger footprint.
If that isn’t possible, maybe a really good shoe store, Yonker said.
JCPenney closure will leave hole in Holland Mall’s $25M makeover – MLive.com