Mall Projecting Growth

Since opening almost nine years ago, officials at Bonita Lakes Mall say retailers continue to get bigger and better.

"We've had a high occupancy here at Bonita Lakes Mall for several years. It's just a matter of local compared to national," said marketing director Jana Kuner. "We're bringing in more national tenants now. We've seen a 10 percent [increase] this year over the last year's numbers, and last year we were up significantly, and that speaks volumes."

Kuner says the mall expects revenues to continue to rise with the opening of at least three new national stores over the next few months. This includes: City Gear, which is set to hold a grand opening later this week; Aeropostal, which is much like an American Eagle store, and is set to open within the next month; and a new large scale retailer which plans to expand the old Gap store and open sometime this fall.

In all, there are more than 70 retailers in the mall. With all of the store front space now full, mall officials say they are now examining other options for space, like converting a meeting room in the mall into retail space.

"I can't tell you when the changes will stop and we hope that they never stop," Kuner said.

Mall officials say they are also awaiting another announcement for the opening of a well-known national restaurant across from O'Charley's. That could happen by October 2006.