New mall? Yeah, sort of

Soon the citizens of Ames will be subjected to hammers, drills, and excessive noise… again. However, the construction is not going to take place at the high school. This time the construction will be underway at North Grand Mall. The old building on Grand Avenue will be getting a massive makeover, including renovation and expansion. According to, the construction is due to start in the early months of 2007, and will probably take two to three years to complete. GK Development bought North Grand Mall almost two years ago and intended from the moment the sale was final to expand and renovate, or “redevelop.” The new owner of North Grand Mall is expected to invest $30 million in an effort to give the mall a “fresh, updated look” and is also expected to modify or increase the size of the building by 150,000 square feet. This extensive makeover is going to change the entire look of the mall by adding an “open-air lifestyle component” that will be called “The Streets of North Grand” and will blend with the remaining portions of the existing mall. However, several students have voiced concern. “I like the concept design, it’s very European… but the thing is that we live in Iowa and it is cold here,” junior Conrad Lueke said. “I mean yeah, let’s build a shopping center that we can use five months of the year, that’s a good use of money,” added senior Jacob Pleasants. However Kurt Carlson, General Manager of North Grand Mall, explained, “it will be like the shops downtown, to a degree.” In addition to the “Streets of North Grand,” additional merchants “that currently do not have a presence in Ames” will be added to the mall’s selection of retailers. “Old Navy is my favorite store, they have really good sales. I would like to have one in our Ames mall,” senior Jennifer Compton said. However, Ames will have to wait until the lease papers are signed before they know what stores will be coming. “It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for a national book store and higher end fashion retailers, like ones in Des Moines and Kansas City, to come to North Grand Mall,” said Carlson. He also verified that none of the existing stores at North Grand Mall will close due to construction, although there is a possibility of relocation for some retailers. Although the construction might be a hassle, most think the result will definitely be positive. “I think it [renovations at North Grand Mall] is a good thing because it will be something in Ames that is different for once,” said Pleasants. The renovation and expansion of the mall will make the mall’s catch phrase “when you want to taste, touch, hug and hold…experience real shopping at North Grand Mall.” Let’s hope it holds true.