Many shoppers walking through the West Manchester Mall Wednesday night were unaware the 32-year-old retail hub is set for a $47 million renovation.

But upon learning the 750,000-square-foot facility at 1800 Loucks Road will soon be revamped into an outdoor shopping destination, they agreed a change was long overdue.

"Hopefully now we'll actually get some stores in here," said Haley D'Amico, 20, York City.

The mall was 32 percent vacant when Dallas-based M&R Investors purchased the property for $17.5 million in September 2012.

M&R Investors, owned by Tony Ruggeri and Frank Mihalopoulos, previously overhauled One Hundred Oaks mall in Nashville, Tenn., restoring it from 55 percent vacancy to 99 percent occupied.

Local residents are hoping for the same renaissance here.

"It would be nice to stay in York to shop. Right now I mostly go to Lancaster or Harrisburg or Maryland to shop in the stores I like," D'Amico said.

Judy Heck said she only goes to the West Manchester Mall when she's looking for something specific.

"I never come just to browse because there's nothing here," said the 48-year-old West York resident.

Heck was in the mall Wednesday night to shop at Kohl's for black pants and planned to leave after completing her purchase.

"If there was more here, I'd look around," she said.

The mall is anchored by Kohl's, Macy's, Regal Cinemas and Walmart, and it's easy to go to those locations without walking through the mall.

A new outdoor layout will give all retailers an outside entrance and help smaller stores become more visible, said Ned Senft, owner of Comix Connection.

"That kind of visibility is like free advertising for us," he said.

Senft has had a store in the mall for more than 10 years and said he's currently in negotiations to stay in the mall.

"(The redevelopment) will be a great improvement for the mall and bring lots of new shoppers. Our desire is to stay and be a part of the mall," he said.

Justin Hodge hopes Comix Connection stays in the mall too. The 22-year-old York City resident said Comix Connection is his go-to store for copies of comics featuring "The Walking Dead," "Doctor Who," X-Men and more.

"Do whatever you want to the place, but don't take away the store where I get my zombie fix," he said.

- Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.