While some say that small enclosed malls have a bleak future, the East Brook Mall and a handful of others are proving that with the right tenants, their tomorrow’s can be bright.
The future of malls has come up in our region as the former 300,000-square-foot enclosed Norwichtown Mall is being converted into a 168,000-square-foot Norwichtown Commons outdoor shopping center.
Adam Winstanley of Winstanley Enterprises LLC, who is working on the project, recently said that the economy cannot support small traditional malls.
“Malls in the 300,000 to 700,000-square-foot range are not surviving today, people are only shopping at malls of maybe a million and a half square feet or larger,” said Winstanley.
For comparison, , is 793,000 square feet while is 1,180,000 square feet.
East Brook Mall in Mansfield, the smallest successful enclosed mall in Connecticut at 300,000 square feet, is only 17 miles north of Norwichtown.
With 28 tenants, it is 100 percent occupied while most larger malls nationwide suffer from vacancies due to a challenging economy.
The East Brook Mall has a unique atmosphere with three 37-foot high signature mall entrance towers, a 300-foot Alaskan Cedar Trellis outside overhang, starburst exterior lighting, interior skylights, and decorative benches and planters.
Nestled in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner, East Brook Mall consists of retail, restaurants, theaters, fitness, and banking.
One of the cheapest theaters in Eastern Connecticut, Mansfield Movie Plex, has matinees before 6 p.m. for $6 while Wednesday bargain day is also $6.
Adult evening tickets are $8.50 while tickets for children 3-12, college students, and seniors 63+ are $6. There is a $2.50 3-D movie surcharge.
Cardio Express is one of the least expensive fitness centers in the area at only $10 a month with no contract.
If you’re hungry for affordable food, check out Applebee’s, Asia Bistro, Papa Gino’s, and Subway.
Additional tenants include A.T. Nails, Beltone New England, Claire’s Accessories, Cutting Crew, Eblens, Game Stop, GNC, Olympia Sports, Park Avenue Jewelry, Payless Shoes, Radio Shack, Savings Institute Bank and Trust, Sleepy’s, TD Bank, T-Mobile, The Children’s Place, and the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Center.
Kiddie rides and an arcade are also located in the mall.
While the last three have a few vacancies, the recent success of all four malls in attracting national, regional, and independent retailers will help ensure their prosperous futures.