The years-long transformation of the 44-year-old retail center now known as the Shops at Worthington Place continues with the announcement of four new tenants that will bring occupancy up to 93 percent.
Howard Brooks Interiors, a furniture retailer, will move into a 9,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by Jos. A. Bank, while Anthony Vince Nail Spa will occupy 5,500 square feet. Two fitness studios – Burn Boot Camp and Jade Yoga and Wellness – will take up a combined total of 9,500 square feet.
The tenant mix reflects the changing nature of retail: Services and restaurants are replacing many of the spaces formerly occupied by the apparel retailers that dominated malls for years. Malls in Columbus and across the country are similarly diversifying.
Veteran Columbus retail analyst Chris Boring said that attracting more service-type businesses to the mall "makes a lot of sense."
"Malls are evolving," Boring said. "They're finding new uses, especially in things that can't be easily duplicated on the internet."
The Worthington mall, located southwest of the intersection of Interstate 270 and U.S. Route 23, has been further challenged by being a smaller property that doesn't draw customers from as wide an area as malls such as Easton Town Center and Polaris Fashion Place.
Still, it's come a long way from being half empty, as it was when developer Tom Carter bought the former Worthington Square Mall in 2010.
"We have placed our time and monies into this boutique mall to make it shine," said Carter in a statement, adding that the mall has once again become a "premier place to shop."
More than $10 million was spent on renovations to the mall after Carter and Morris-Floyd Capital Partners bought the property for $6.5 million.
In addition to the 130,000-square-foot mall, the 20-acre property includes a 10,000-square-foot office building and a recently renovated 55,000-square-foot Kroger.
It has added several restaurants as it has lost some national apparel retailers: It now features a First Watch, Panera Bread and Piada, among others.
Peggy Smith, who owns high-end furnishings retailer Howard Brooks with her husband, Stephen, will be moving from longtime location near the Hills Market on Olentangy River Road just north of I-270. That strip shopping center has been sold, with plans to demolish the portion that Howard Brooks occupies in order to build a senior-living facility.
Smith said they are looking forward to moving to a similarly sized space just two miles away at the Shops at Worthington Place after renovations are complete to the former Jos. A. Bank space, planned for completion by late August.
"We wanted to stay in this general area. ... We'll be just one freeway exit to the east," Smith said.
She said she has been impressed with the improvements made to the Worthington mall by the current owners.
"They're really turning it around," she said.