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SALEM, OR-Lancaster Mall is in the midst of a $10-million comeback. The mall, opened in 1971, is undergoing its biggest makeover ever as it tries to stay in touch with shoppers by adding new furniture, new colors, new buildings and, most important, national retailers.

A new two-story, 27,000-sf Old Navy store is greeting shoppers as they enter the mall, Starbucks has filed to slip in next to it, Best Buy opened a free-standing store on mall property two months ago, and T.G.I. Friday’s and McGrath’s Fish House are in the midst of doing the same. As well, national clothing chain Anchor Blue is planning to locate inside the mall early next year, about the time Sears will undergo a renovation of old space and add 6,000 sf of new space to its children’s and women’s departments.

As well, new mall entrances and new furniture are being added along with new colors–pea green and orange. Seattle-based architecture firm Callison & Associates is in charge of the new design. The average monthly leasing rate for the mall is $22 per sf, while a premier spot like Old Navy’s leases for closer to $50 per sf.

The mall’s owner is C.E. John Co. The Vancouver, WA-based developer bought out other mall owners two years ago with just such a renovation in mind. The move follows an up grade of the competing Salem Center by owner J.P. Realty that brought in the Gap and the Disney Store, and California-based Craig Realty Group’s development of the 176-store Woodburn outlet mall along Interstate 5 between Portland and Salem.

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