Interior renovations are continuing at Mount Berry Mall, with new lighting and HVAC work taking place virtually every night after regular mall hours.
The Augusta-based Hull Property Group that owns the mall is making improvements in a bid to make the mall more attractive to tenants and tackle a vacancy of over half of their stores.
Back in June 2018, Hull sought $1.14 million in Tax Allocation District financial help from the city for a major makeover at the mall. City officials went along with the proposal and approved the creation of a TAD district surrounding the mall.
However, the mall and the city were never able to come to terms with a specific financial plan. The investor group decided in 2019 to move forward with phased improvements to the mall on their own — without the benefit of the tax breaks.
The first phase of work at the mall was also originally expected to include demolition of the Sears space along with everything on the north end of the mall past Victoria’s Secret.
In October, John Mulherin, Hull’s president for government relations, said plans to demolish that end of the mall had changed and are not a part of the latest strategy to upgrade the mall.
Shortly after the first of the year, crews started taking out sections of the interior ceiling for the lighting and HVAC work. The interior remodel was originally budgeted for $1,974,550.
In addition that work, the interior remodel will include changes to the floor-covering in the main traffic wings of the mall and improvements to the public restrooms.
Hull spent more than $1.5 million at Mount Berry Mall in 2016 and 2017. They completed the construction of barricades and mural-like photographs to cover up vacant retail space as well as replaced the roof and built a new message board at the entrance to the mall at U.S. 27.
By tackling the improvements to the mall incrementally, Mulherin said, the company should be able to make more than $4.5 million worth of improvements without the assistance of a TAD.