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Upgrades planned for Boulevard Mall include farmer’s market, Wi-Fi

Expect significant changes at the Boulevard Mall soon, with the first to come in late summer.

Landscaping with drought- tolerant plants and new irrigation systems, fresh paint and building repairs comprise the first phase, expected to be finished by the end of summer. Other phases include more ambitious plans such as adding a permanent farmers market and Wi-Fi in the food court.

The Clark County Zoning Commission approved the plan at its Wednesday meeting, allowing Sansone Cos. to move forward with its $23 million to $25 million project.

In November, Henderson-based Sansone Cos. purchased the mall for $54.5 million. The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote in December that the deal came after more than four months of marketing that followed the decision by former owner Rouse Properties Inc. to surrender the mall rather than try to support its $168 million in debt.

At the time, Sansone said design renovations and a marketing strategy were underway for the 1.2 million-square-foot center.

“The mall is almost 50 years old. It does need renovating,” company President Roland Sansone said this week.

Among the changes will be a full food court renovation that includes the Wi-Fi and four 80-inch televisions for sports and news viewing.

Dillard’s space that’s been vacant for the past few years will be repurposed, with the second floor being reserved for office space and the lower level for retail.

“We have an enormous parking ratio,” Sansone said. “We can cater to large office users for that space.”

Sansone Cos. will add windows to the Dillard’s space, making it more office-environment friendly. As for the exterior paint, Sansone didn’t disclose the new colors, but said they’ll be warmer than the current cool grays.

The farmers market will be located outside the main entrance, off Maryland Parkway, and will feature a large children’s play area. It will house 70 tenants ranging from clothing retailers to farm products and bakeries.

Sansone said he is looking for tenants to fill the space that he’s estimating will be open by summer 2015.

“We feel you’ll be coming to the Boulevard for an experience,” he said.

Eventually, Sansone said he’d like to add a bowling alley and miniature golf to the mall.

The renovation is part of Sansone’s plan to fill vacancies in the Boulevard, which is about 70 percent occupied, meaning the company has about 400,000 square feet to fill. Cost to lease space at the mall is $1 per square foot.

With this project Sansone said he’s targeting working-class individuals who live in the area, but also those who want to come for a different shopping experience that will be provided by the permanent farmer’s market.

“We feel this could be a very strong blue-collar mall catering to the working class. It’s not going to be the Fashion Show,” Sansone said.

Don’t expect high-end stores coming to the Boulevard. Instead, the focus will be on budget-friendly fashions and services.

“I’m so excited that Boulevard Mall will stay a mall but be new and improved,” Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said at the zoning meeting.

Other changes include those to the thoroughfares in and around the property. The existing driveway that aligns with Dumont Boulevard will be expanded to accommodate four travel lanes. Near the building’s main entry, drive lanes will be expanded to accommodate new valet drop-off and pick-up areas and be enhanced with stamped concrete to complement the new façade.

Sansone also wants to cut off traffic where Twain Avenue winds through mall property, instead expanding the parking lot and adding landscaping on the east side.

Constructed in 1965, the Boulevard Mall includes the main building, the parking lots and a separate building with Marshall’s and empty space, all on 57 acres. Macy’s and Sears own their pads. The other anchor, J.C. Penney Co., leases.

The redevelopment will take place in several phases and be completed by 2015.

The Boulevard Mall will remain open for business during construction.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.

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