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  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    A new stairway, glass and railings, lounge areas, and brighter ceilings are among improvements at the Pheasant Lane Mall.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Renovations to the interior of the Pheasant Lane Mall are complete, including the children's play area.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Renovations to the interior of the Pheasant Lane Mall are complete, including the replacement of railings with stainless steel and the addition of glass.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    The food court was among the renovations done at the Pheasant Lane Mall.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Lounge areas were added during renovations at the Pheasant Lane Mall recently.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Newbury Comics will soon be open in the Pheasant Lane Mall.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    The interior of the Pheasant Lane Mall has become brighter now that the ceilings have been painted white.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Red Robin Gourmet Burgers opened next to Dick's Sporting Goods at the Pheasant Lane Mall.
  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Tutti Frutti is coming to the Pheasant Lane Mall.
  • Regional Senior Vice President of Simon Malls Ron Hanson, Director of Marketing and Business Development of Pheasant Lane Mall Jenna Lynds, General Manager of Pheasant Lane Mall Vincent Cosco, Mayor of the city of Nashua Donnalee Lozeau, Board of Selectman for the Town of Tyngsborough Elizabeth Coughlin and President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce Christopher Williams. Courtesy photo
  • Regional Senior Vice President of Simon Malls Ron Hanson, Director of Marketing and Business Development of Pheasant Lane Mall Jenna Lynds, General Manager of Pheasant Lane Mall Vincent Cosco, Mayor of the city of Nashua Donnalee Lozeau, Board of Selectman for the Town of Tyngsborough Elizabeth Coughlin and President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce Christopher Williams. Courtesy photo.
  • Donnalee Lozeau, Mayor, City of Nashua. Courtesy photo.
Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pheasant Lane Mall to celebrate $10m renovation, ribbon cutting Friday

NASHUA – It’s amazing what a difference a little light can make to your mood and your shopping stamina.

That and $10 million in renovations.

On Friday, Nashua and Tyngsborough, Mass., officials joined Simon Mall and Pheasant Lane Mall representatives to celebrate the mall’s multimillion-dollar face-lift that has left the shopping center lighter, brighter and a whole lot better since it was built on the state border 26 years ago.

“I am ecstatic,” Vin Cosco, general manager of the Pheasant Lane Mall, said Wednesday. “We have a great customer base, and the mall has always been a really good mall, but it was dated, it was tired and it definitely needed to be done.”

Work has been ongoing at the mall since March 2011, but the project has been many more years in the making.

The city first approved the renovations in 2008, Gerald Prunier, a lawyer for Simon Property Group, told The Telegraph last year.

Simon Property Group owns the Pheasant Lane Mall along with more than 300 others throughout country.

After the economy slipped in 2009, Simon asked that the approval be extended for a year, which was granted by the Planning Board. In 2010, the plan was amended to show the new Dick’s Sporting Goods store that is now standing where Macy’s once was, and that plan was approved by the board last summer, Prunier said.

Now complete, the mall features cushiony beige carpeting and light-colored tiles replacing the mall’s old terra cotta flooring. Glass skylights and brighter paint jobs have upgraded the mall’s old green-gray ceiling.

“Operationally, we had a lot of great advances in the renovation,” Cosco said. “A lot of people love the carpeting on the upper level. It’s easier to walk. It certainly quiets the place down … the sound gets soaked up.

“It wasn’t a planned side effect, but it’s worked better than I expected.”

The black iron theme that once connected the mall’s first and second floors, from its handrails and benches to its light posts and light fixtures, has been traded for a fresher, open feel.

For a visitor strolling through the mall from Target to Sears, the place just feels like a breath of fresh air has been breathed down its corridors.

With new, comfortable seating areas along the way, plus brand new restrooms on the mall’s upper level, shoppers have also gained a sigh of relief on their busiest shopping days.

“We added things that people have asked for over the years, and Simon has identified things that are important to the shoppers,” Cosco said. “We eliminated huge built-in planters around the escalator purposely to add seating. We cut out the big, grand staircase (near the food court) and built that switchback staircase to open that up.”

The food court is also a more inviting place now that the black iron fences that used to wall it in have been torn down. The ramps that once cluttered that area have also been leveled out, Cosco said, allowing the mall to maintain its seat and table count while adding a soft seating lobby area near guest services, resembling a hotel lobby area.

Guests rested on the lobby’s plush couches on Black Friday, Cosco said, serving as proof – if nothing else – that the months of overnight renovations, and the closures and construction throughout the mall over that time, were worth it.

“I’m psyched to have it done for the customers and our retailers,” Cosco said. “It gives the customer base a nice place to come, it gives them more amenities that they deserve and they should have, quite frankly.”

The work still isn’t done in the shopping center, however.

“The mall is typically an ever-evolving entity,” Cosco said. “Leases run for five, maybe 10 years, and there’s cycles where you’ll have five or 10 or 20 store leases coming up. Some you’ll renew, some you’ll renegotiate and relocate.”

Two of the stores that shoppers should look for in coming months are Newbury Comics, moving in from its old space up the road at 293 Daniel Webster Highway, and Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, a self-serve yogurt place, which will open its second location in New Hampshire at the Pheasant Lane Mall this weekend, Cosco said.

One of the mall’s “major retailers,” looking for bigger space, is slated to move into one of the former Gap stores, Cosco added.

The mall has 130 spaces for tenants, and it’s almost at full capacity, Cosco said.

The Merrimack Outlets, opening in June, shouldn’t be a threat, he said.

“The outlet shopping environment is very different from the mall shopping environment,” Cosco said. “We’re kind of psyched about it. We think it’s going to bring a lot more shoppers, and to get the outlet shopper to this area if we can capture that traffic, it’s going to be a great thing for us and the Mall of New Hampshire. … It will bring more shoppers to Nashua and to Merrimack.”

With Dick’s Sporting Goods, Red Robin and Burton’s Grill anchoring the area where a big empty box had stood since 2006 when Macy’s moved to the space occupied by Filene’s, the mall is in an even better position than it has been in recent years, he said

“We’ve always been really lucky, maybe good, during the downswing in the economy,” Cosco said. “We’ve really been able to build our tenancy and improve our tenancy over those years, adding Sephora and Apple and Bare Escentuals, and now that we’re renovated, we have seen more interest from national and local tenants. We try to do both.”

There’s also the prospect of a potential rail location coming to the area, as Mayor Donnalee Lozeau has highlighted efforts by Nashua and Tynsgborough to bring a multimodal transit center to Exit 36 South.

“I’ve talked to them on and off about it,” Cosco said. “I would really like to see the study done that they had been talking about it. There’s definitely pros and cons, as in any issue, and one of the cons for us is really not knowing.

“If the study showed that it would bring customers to the shopping centers, yes (he would support it), but we don’t really have that information yet, and really, what I’m supportive of is getting that information.”

New projects are always in the works, Cosco said, but the main renovation, the common areas open to the public, can finally be laid to rest.

“It’s nice to drive onto the property now,” Cosco said. “It’s wonderful to see cars in the parking lot and people walking back and forth between brand new stores. That’s thrilling for me.”

Maryalice Gill can be reached at 594-6490 or mgill@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Gill on Twitter (@Telegraph_MAG).