Decatur Mall owners request more time to renovate property

DECATUR, Ala. - Big changes are coming to Decatur Mall, all thanks to Hull Property Group of Augusta, Georgia.

The property ownership group owns shopping centers in the Florence and Auburn areas, as well as about two dozen more around the country. Hull Group bought Decatur Mall earlier this year.

"They've had time to assess the mall and where they think it is, and how they can implement their model," said city development director Wally Terry.

Hull Property Group now requests adjustments to their contract.

"We will be reducing the incentive from $6.8 million down to $3.9 million," explained Terry. To wrap up renovations and recruit the tenants they want, the adjustment would also push their deadline to 2020.

When the mall was purchased by its previous owners, the JC Penney and Sears stores moved out. Instead of seeking new tenants to fill the space, Hull Group plans to demolish the two stores, shrinking the size of the mall.

The demolition of the two anchor stores would also create a better entrance for the Carmike Theater.

"That will be improved for the theatergoers, they can park back there and it will be better lit and safer access into the theater, more direct access," explained Terry.

The interior of the mall is slated for a major overhaul, including clearing the hallways of kiosks, as well as raising the ceiling and bringing in better lighting.

Terry says the owners want to be realistic with what stores will work, and the city knows the large retail space, and its tax revenue, are crucial to the city.