Interior stores will be closed beginning next month for demolition to make way for new stores, such as Barnes & Noble bookstore, which is scheduled to open this winter
VISALIA – In order to open its doors to the future, the Sequoia Mall will have to close its doors temporarily.
Last week, Caldwell-Mooney Partners LLP, which owns the mall, and Paynter Realty & Investments, Inc., which manages the property, announced they are temporarily shutting down the interior of the mall to begin construction for a host of new major retailers. Paynter Realty’s Jim Sanders confirmed eight current tenants in the mall’s interior have been informed they need to move in March to allow for demolition. Big name retailers being added to the Sequoia Mall, located at the busiest intersection in Tulare County at Mooney Boulevard and Caldwell Avenue, will be Sprouts Farmers Market, Nordstrom Rack, Sola Salon and Barnes & Noble.
“With Barnes & Noble joining the Sequoia Mall, this also ushers in a new transition for the Sequoia Mall as the interior of the mall will be officially closing on March 31st, 2023 so that construction can begin.” Sanders said.
Sources say the air-conditioned, enclosed mall will be replaced by an open-air format shopping center with a road lined by stores going down the middle. This design has not been confirmed by the developer but Paynter Realty is known for its diverse portfolio and ability to keep properties relevant. The firm has developed over 3.6 million square feet of commercial building space during its 34 years of history and currently manages approximately 2 million square feet primarily in Central California as mixed use and professional office buildings.
Paynter Realty did confirm the 16,000 square foot Barnes & Noble will be opening in the mall this winter and that the developer will continue to announce new tenants as part of its ongoing redevelopment of the property which already includes Hobby Lobby, Marshalls and Raising Cane’s chicken.
“Barnes & Noble will be joining the Sequoia Mall this winter. Barnes & Noble has proven the ability to achieve success in its omni-channel retail presence in both ‘bricks and mortar’ and e-commerce and will be a welcomed presence in Visalia and the greater Tulare County community,” said David H. Paynter, president or the management firm and a managing member of the ownership group. “We are very excited to announce the next major addition to the ongoing redevelopment of the Sequoia Mall.”
The fate of the Sequoia Mall movie theater is still not known as owner Regal Cinema continues to work through its bankruptcy court hearings that started last fall. Cineworld closed 25 underperforming sites in 2021 but opened 10 new sites and refurbished seven cinemas. Cineworld noted in its year-end report that most of its refurbish projects were under construction prior to the onset of COVID-19 with an eye on enhanced experiences using special formats like IMAX, 4DX, Screen-X, SuperScreen and RPX. No announcement has been made about the fate of the two Regal theaters in Visalia, one at the mall and the other in downtown.
The theater will lose its main entrance in front of the mall during demolition work but retain its other two entrances to the rear of the mall. The cinema was the first piece of the revamped mall the property owner announced just before the pandemic in January 2020. The plan included a new, 50,686-square foot movie complex with “the latest technology that Regal has to offer.”
The shopping center will have one more space to fill with impending closure of Bed Bath and Beyond in coming weeks. On Jan. 30, Bed Bath & Beyond announced it will be closing another 87 stores in 2023, including the Visalia store at 3125 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia. The company also closed five of its buybuy Baby stores, which sells baby clothes and accessories, and all of its Harmon stores, a discount retailer for beauty, health and cosmetics products. In all, the company plans to shutter 142 stores this year. The closures mean the multi-chain retailer will have closed 268 stores across all three brands by the end of this year, nearly 100 more than it expected to close two years ago.