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Officials unveil plans for exterior of Charleston Town Center

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston Town Center officials on Wednesday unveiled an $800,000 renovation plan to improve the shopping mecca's Court Street facade.

General Manager Tom Bird said the upgrade is designed to make the mall's exterior as welcoming as the interior, which underwent a $7 million upgrade last year ahead of the mall's 30th anniversary in 2013.

"We want to bring this end of the mall up to the level that we've brought the rest of the mall up to," Bird said.

Crews from Wiseman Construction have already begun some of the exterior work, which includes:

* Replacing all concrete surfaces between J.C. Penney and Five Guys Burger and Fries.

* Improving the pick-up lane in front of Chili's and Outback Steakhouse.

* Bringing all new sidewalks and ramps into compliance with updated federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

* Increasing the size of walkways and renovating the restaurant patio areas.

* Adding 11 decorative street light poles to boost lighting.

* Adding additional green spaces around the mall.

* Treating the surface concrete with a brushed technique that makes walking safer in the winter.

* Installing a new stained concrete walkway into the mall entrance.

* And removing the loading zone in front of the Tidewater Grille to create more sidewalk space for pedestrians.

Bird said all five restaurants on the Court Street end of the mall would remain open during the renovation process, which is expected to wrap up by Nov. 1.

He said the appearance of the Court Street entrance is important given the number of people who use it to enter the mall during the day and night.

"There's over 20,000 people that work downtown, and a lot of them walk through that door at lunch," he said. "So having that end of the mall look great is tremendous for us."

He said the proximity to area hotels also brings in a large dinner crowd and that many of those guests visiting from out of state.

"At night, we want it to be really nice and friendly and inviting for people to come and eat," Bird said.

The renovations were designed by Rick Zimmerman and Will Vogele, architects with the mall's parent company, Forest City Enterprises.

Though the mall already has received an interior renovation, and is now receiving an exterior one, Bird said Forest City officials have several more improvements lined up in the future.

They plan to begin replacing the roof this fall, and then begin work on the heating and cooling systems.

"We are going to continue to upgrade the center," he said. "We have plans to be here for a long time and we want to have a building that's ready for that."

Contact writer Jared Hunt at or 304-348-4836.



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