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MURRELLS INLET, SC-Inlet Square, a 433,345-sf regional mall on the southern portion of Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand, will expand to 550,000-sf as part of a $25 million to $30 million renovation and expansion project that will reposition the long-neglected shopping center to cater to the area’s booming population and tourist trade.

Nate Fishkin, with F+F Development, the mall’s owner and developer, tells Globe Street Retail that renovation on the mall should begin in February with a 116,655-sf addition scheduled for construction by the middle of next year. Fishkin and partner Charles E. Fancher Jr., who acquired the property in October 2005, expect the project to be completed by spring 2008, in time for the start of the summer tourist season.

“It’s a terrific area,” says Fishkin, noting that other competing malls are located in Coastal Grand, about 15 miles to the north and Charleston, 60 miles to the south, giving Inlet Square a unique position in the Myrtle Beach market. “We think we’re in a good position to capture business from the south and the west.”

Plans for the property, at the intersection of Highway 17 Business and Highway 17 Bypass, call for the addition of two anchor tenants along with several smaller lifestyle and regional shops and several restaurants. Fishkin says the repositioning will reflect a convergence of the shopping mall and lifestyle concepts that will bring together the best of both retailing styles.

The mall’s interior renovation will include floors and ceilings, enhancement to the Center Court, a reconfiguration of some tenant space, new seating areas throughout the property’s concourses and a new color scheme. Fishkin says plans also call for the property to be renamed Inlet Square, rather than Inlet Square Mall, to reflect its new and revamped concept.

Along with the addition of two anchor tenants, the mall’s owners plan to demolish an existing food court, create a new outdoor courtyard and add space for several smaller tenants.

“We would like to add some strong regional and local tenants to give it some flavor and we’re hoping to get a good sprinkling of lifestyle tenants,” Fishkin notes.

The mall, which will remain open during the renovation and redevelopment work, is currently anchored by Belk, JCPenny, K-mart, Stein Mart, Regal Cinemas 12 and Books-A-Million. In addition to the expansion, the developers will also resurface the parking lot, add landscaping and upgrade signage to increase the shopping center’s visibility. Jones Lang LaSalle will handle the leasing duties for the property.

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