By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — A special groundbreaking ceremony was held at Times Square Mall Friday to celebrate a number of new additions and improvements planned for the retail site.
Representatives of The Sansone Group and Pine Tree Commercial Realty, LLC — the mall’s owners — were on hand for the event, along with several City of Mt. Vernon officials.
Instead of a more traditional ribbon-cutting, Mayor Mary Jane Chesley sawed a piece of wood in two at Friday’s ceremony to symbolize the upcoming mall improvements.
“I believe the strength of a progressive city lies in teamwork and our team is getting stronger every day,” Chesley said.
Jim Sansone, one of the principals at The Sansone Group, gave a rundown of the many changes on the horizon for the mall.
As was announced previously, Hobby Lobby and Big Lots have committed to opening stores at the mall.
The Hobby Lobby store will be more than 50,000 square feet and Big Lots will be located in a roughly 32,000 square-foot space.
In addition, a “surprise user” has agreed to be a tenant at the mall in a 22,000 square-foot space, Sansone said. This user will likely be announced by the end of the year.
“The space is committed, but the user wanted to reserve the right to make their announcement,” Sansone said. “(It’s) a very nice user that will fit in well with the mall.”
Sansone also said there has been interest expressed from a number of national users to occupy 10,000 square feet of available interior mall space.
In addition, Wendy’s plans to update its facade and three or four users have committed to utilizing the Times Square Liquors space for a small boutique center, Sansone said. The current liquor store building will be demolished and a new structure will be built.
“It’s an exciting day for Sansone Group,” Sansone said. “We’ve teamed with a great partner in Pine Tree and that’s been a great venture for us.”
Peter Borzak, a principal at Pine Tree, also spoke highly of his firm’s partnership with The Sansone Group.
“We’re excited to be able to rejuvenate and restore the luster to this property that’s been so important here for almost half a century,” Borzak said.
Chesley said there have been many groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies held in Mt. Vernon in the past seven years.
She also said nearly $1 billion has been invested in the community over the past five years.
Furthermore, the city’s water tower was recently chosen as the National Water Tower Tank of the Year, Chesley said.
“We have created an environment for growth and we will continue to do so,” Chesley said.