The new year will bring a new West Manchester Mall, and developers said work could begin before winter ends.
"We're trying to get started as early as we can. March is not an unreasonable target," said Tony Ruggeri, co-founder of Dallas-based M&R Investors, which owns the mall.
The 32-year-old shopping hub at 1800 Loucks Road is set for a $47 million redevelopment that will change it from an enclosed mall to an outdoor plaza similar to Hunt Valley Towne Center in Maryland.
The York County commissioners and the West York school board recently approved a tax incentive financing (TIF) plan that will allow the mall to be revamped while receiving a limited tax break on the improved property.
West Manchester Township supervisors will take up the matter at a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23.
If the supervisors approve the plan, mall owners will finalize leases, and they will ready permits and land-use plans for approval, Ruggeri said.
"We'd like to start construction as soon as we can," he said.
Timing: The majority of construction will probably last six months, and it will probably take a little longer for retail spaces to be designed and ready to open, Ruggeri said.
"We're still thinking before the end of next year," he said.
The mall's anchors -- Kohl's, Macy's, Regal Cinemas and Walmart -- will not close during construction.
But because the inside of the mall will be demolished, the stores inside will be affected. However, no timeline has been determined, Ruggeri said.
"It depends whether the stores want to move into the redevelopment or move out. We would expect that some of the tenants inside will be part of the redevelopment, but we're not sure yet," he said.
Which tenants will choose to stay is unclear. A reporter seeking information in the mall Thursday was told to leave by mall management.
Many tenants have been operating on a month-to-month basis, and two tenants have leases that extend beyond the end of December, Ruggeri said.
"As each month passes, a lot of them have expressed sales are dwindling dramatically," he said.
Background: M&R Investors purchased the mall for $17.5 million in September 2012 and hired Rhino Realty Group, Inc. to act as a leasing agent and attract retailers to the 32-percent vacant mall.
The owners have received a lot of interest from retailers, but Ruggeri wouldn't confirm any companies that have signed leases.
Their focus is largely on retailers, restaurants, banks and service-type retail to fill the 95 acres of mall property, he said.
"We have a lot of land, so we're not excluding any potential users," Ruggeri said.
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