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  JoAnn Moving; Staples on the Way
Courtland Center Mall is Changing Inside and Out

Mall officials announced this week that a Staples office supply store and a Jo-Ann fabric store will be taking over 46,000 square feet of the 61,000-square-foot space vacated last month when an Old Navy store moved inside the mall.

Massachusetts-based Staples, a newcomer to the Burton mall, will occupy 20,000 square feet with an outside entrance, said Stan Sapiro, mall manager. Staples currently has a store on Lapeer Road less than half a mile south of Courtland.

California-based Jo-Ann will move from its current 10,000-square-foot space in the mall to a 26,000-square-foot space, where it will launch its first mini-superstore in Michigan. It will offer more merchandise and services, including a framing department.

Both stores are expected to open in the fall.

A third tenant is sought for the remainder of the space at the east end of the mall, Sapiro said. The huge space was built for a single tenant - Detroit-based Crowley's department store - which folded in 1999.

In other improvements, workers are putting the finishing touches on an upgrade of the mall's front entrance, including new lighting, signs and wall resurfacing work.

All that is left to do in this phase of improvement are finishing touches on landscaping and lighting and erecting a sign that will go up in about a week, Sapiro said. But while new stores are arriving, the mall still is experiencing tenant departures.

Most recently, Pennies Buy the Pound, a bulk candy store, has closed. It was only about a year ago that the store moved from an outside location to a spot inside the mall's food court. The owners could not be reached for comment.

Sapiro said some mall stores are closing when leases expire and the owners decide not to renew, but negotiations with replacements are under way.

Also departing is Rainbow USA Inc., a junior apparel store occupying 4,080 square feet at the center of the mall. The store closed last weekend, and workers inside the store this week were packing up remaining inventory for shipment to another store.

A store manager deferred comment to corporate officials, who did not respond to The Flint Journal's inquiries.

The Brooklyn-based chain also closed a store earlier this year in the South Flint Plaza on Fenton Road in Flint, but still operates one at the Hallwood Plaza at 4925 Clio Road. It also operates several stores in the Detroit area and statewide.

Another end-of-April departure was the Flint Institute of Arts Museum Store, which ended an approximately 16-month stay. It was a temporary arrangement during extensive renovations at the Flint Cultural Center in downtown Flint, where the store will reopen in September.

Tenant relocations also have been an ongoing part of the mall makeover with the Old Navy anchor store, Payless Shoesource and Sports Vault among tenants that have moved within the past year.

Most recently, Duke's Communications moved from the food court area to a larger space along the main aisle, last occupied by D-Block urban products store, but previously the home of Sibley's Shoes for many years.

Also in a new location is The Royal Touch, an upscale women's clothing boutique, which moved from the far east end of the mall to a 1,971-square-foot space accessible only from the north parking lot.

Sapiro said mall owners are in negotiations for a tenant to fill a 12,100-square-foot space at the west end of the mall that has seen several tenants come and go since it was vacated in 1998 by the closing of the Winkleman's clothing store, a longtime tenant.

The 458,000-square-foot Courtland Center is owned by Tucker Development Corp. of Highland Park, Ill., which specializes in developing shopping centers and commercial properties.


© 2005 Flint Journal. Used with permission

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