Plans for Cortana anchor stores could include education, office space
BATON ROUGE - The owners of Cortana Mall say they were "taken aback" by Macy's recent announcement to close the Cortana location, but say it will only give them a "greater opportunity to explore some larger concepts for the shopping center."
Cortana Mall, located at the corner of Florida Boulevard and Airline Highway, was acquired by Las Vegas-based company Moonbeam Capital Investments, LLC in 2013.
Moonbeam Senior Vice President Shawl Pryor says companies have inquired about the redevelopment of the Macy's and old Mervyn's property.
"We have received numerous inquiries in reference to the property as a whole to entertain a concept of education and office space," said Pryor.
Moonbeam ensures Cortana Mall will continue to be a primary destination for shopping and the company is looking at uses to support the current retail located there.
The retail chain issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Wednesday as the Macy's closure brings with it 108 employee layoffs. The employer has pledged to offer transfer opportunities and other information for those affected employees. They're currently directing laid-off employees to take advantage of the services at offered at Baton Rouge’s two Business and Career Solutions Centers on 1991 Wooddale Boulevard and 4523 Plank Road.
Mervyn's, which closed in 2006 has been vacant since. Pryor says colleges have reached out about using the department store space. Virginia College is already a tenant in one location at the mall.
Moonbeam is looking at cosmetic upgrades to the exterior and interior of the mall in early 2017. Other tenants that are very aggressive about their merchandise want to make deals happen in 2016.
"We still believe wholeheartedly Cortana is key and instrumental to changing the entire community," said Pryor. "We're in it for the long haul."
Moonbeam says it it's looking to execute a plan in the next year.