Albany's Mall is nearly full - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany's Mall is nearly full

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Joseph Iles, JCPenney Store Manager Joseph Iles, JCPenney Store Manager

The economy is still struggling to recover, but to find glimmers of hope you don't need to look any further than the Albany Mall.

At a time when many shopping centers are struggling to keep businesses, Albany's Mall is nearly full; plus one main tenant is investing big bucks in a renovation.

With nearly 90 stores and kiosks, the mall attracts shoppers from across Southwest Georgia.

"On average we have about 140,000 visitors per week" said Debra Rowe, Albany Mall Marketing Director.

That amount of foot traffic is apparently enough to keep retailers here.

"There have been some prospective clients we've been talking to," said Rowe.

There are still four empty stores here but that's a vacancy rate of less than five percent, much better than average.

"The vacancy rates reached up to 10 and 11 percent in U.S. regional malls," said Rowe.

JCPenny has been one of the most successful stores at the mall.

"Albany Georgia was the second JCPenney site in 1926," said Joseph Iles, JCPenney Store Manager.

JCPenny is investing $2 million in Albany and adding on, proving the store and mall location has worked well for the retailer.

"We're somewhat investing in the mall but basically investing in the community giving back to them. We're opening up Sephora inside of JCPeney it's a cosmetic line," said Iles.

Mall managers say the improvements are a good sign.

"We've done very well as far as the economy and keeping our tenants," said Rowe.

Mall managers say they have some prospects for the few empty storefronts, but they're not ready to announce anything yet.

Those renovations at JCPenney should be finished this summer.