At Frenchtown, the company plans a major upgrade to the20-year-old mall, starting in early 2009 and finishing by Christmasof that year. A spokesman says the company will undertake a varietyof interior and exterior renovations. "We typically go in and, onthe interior, add skylights, a new ceiling, floor treatments,things like that to give it more of a 21st century look. AtFrenchtown, we're also going to add new offerings such as appareland food vendors. This takes some time, working out over a periodof months, if not years." The occupancy at the mall now is in the'90s, the spokesman says.

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He says his company has been in talks with Monroe officialsabout what they would like to see done at the mall, and especiallyto dispel hints of a closure. "There were rumors we were going tolevel it and turn it into condos, but we have absolutely nointention of closing the mall," the spokesman says. The exact costfor the upgrade can't be released, he says.

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The expansion at Spotsylvania will be in the "10s of millions,"the spokesman says. "We're in discussions with high-end retailers,and just yesterday Coldwater Creek agreed to take up residencethere. There are other retailers with space now out for signature.We're slated to be finished with that one by November of thisyear," he says.

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The planning process just started with Millcreek, the spokesmansays. "We're still engaged with discussions with local officialsabout permitting issues. We have big plans for that mall," he says.This would also be a multimillion-dollar project, he says.

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The spokesman says the upgrades are considered with a systematicapproach, with the needs of a mall being the requirement forupgrades. "We try to achieve controlled growth, not overbuilding oroverextending," he says. "We are very cognizant of the difficultiesthat national chains are having right now, with market conditionsand the credit crisis. We're working with them on dealing withthat, despite the fact that they've grown conservative, we'recontinuing to maintain a relationship." The company has more than34 million sf owned in 50 centers across the country.

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