Metro North Shopping Center is closing Tuesday, but Macy’s will remain open

04/10/2014 11:50 AM

04/10/2014 9:17 PM

Metro North Shopping Center, a Northland fixture since 1976, will shut down next Tuesday except for the Macy’s attached to the west end of the mall.

Three restaurants operating in freestanding buildings on the site — Olive Garden, Red Lobster and McDonald’s — also will remain open.

The mall owner made the announcement Thursday and said the closing would help move redevelopment plans forward.

“We know many in the Northland look forward to the redevelopment of this landmark shopping mall and will understand this is a necessary step to continue our redevelopment efforts,” Garry Hayes, director of leasing at MD Management, the owner and developer of the mall, said in a statement.

When the two-level indoor mall opened, it had four department store anchors. But now only Macy’s, which owns its building, and a couple of other retailers remain.

Last June, Metro North Co. LLC and two affiliates proposed a $200 million makeover of the mall. They want to demolish the center, at Barry Road and U.S. 169, and replace it with a more compact, shopable, one-story indoor mall. It would serve as the centerpiece of a revived 2-mile-long retail district running along both sides of Barry Road.

Macy’s would move to a new building on the southeastern side of the new mall. Developers envision another anchor tenant as well as 60 to 80 specialty retailers, restaurants, entertainment venues and services. The new mall would be roughly two-thirds the size of the current structure.

At the time of the announcement, the developers had hoped to open the new mall with a new name by mid-2016. That date is “not operable” now, an MD spokesman said. A new opening date has not been proposed.

Other Metro North redevelopment plans have come and gone over the years. However, this proposal was considered more promising because Metro North Co. LLC now has control of the former Dillard’s building. And the developers said Macy’s is willing to work with them on a possible relocation.

However, a second major anchor is integral for the plan to move forward, the MD spokesman said.

Metro North Co. LLC hopes to attract future tenants in May at the RECon convention for the shopping center industry held in Las Vegas. It has not yet asked for any tax incentives for the proposed redevelopment.

As for Macy’s, it will keep its regular store hours, but the interior entrance to the mall will be closed. Metro North will then save money on overhead, including heating and cooling costs for the common area of the mall.

Tom Rau, Macy’s district vice president for the Kansas City area, said the retailer remains committed to the Northland.

“We pride ourselves on providing a great shopping environment at Metro North,” Rau said in a statement. “Our company looks forward to working with the team at MD Management as it continues to progress on the redevelopment plan for a new Metro North.”

GNC and Metro North Wigs are the two tenants still operating in the interior of the mall, and both stores hope to relocate nearby.

“They will shut the door. I don’t have a choice,” said Sue Woods, owner of Metro North Wigs, who has operated a wig shop in the mall for three decades. “I really want to be part of a mall. We have been in one place for so long and I know so many people.”

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