A new Ashley Homestore will become the next step in the reinvention of SouthPark Mall in Moline.
Ashley plans to remodel 31,000 square feet inside the mall, near the Dillard's clearance center, into a full-service furniture store. The store will become the licensee's second Quad-City store, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
"There are other locations where we have more than one store, this is one (location) we think the population can support another store," said Tom Kovash, vice president of the Ashley Homestore Division of Furniture Mart.
Ashley Homestore first entered the market in the fall of 2015 when it opened in the former American TV & Appliance store on Davenport's Elmore Avenue.
Furniture Mart, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, operates Furniture Mart USA, Ashley Homestore and Unclaimed Freight Furniture stores in six states. They include Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Kovash said the Moline store will have similar elements to the Davenport store, but will be half the size. The SouthPark store will be the 26th store for the company, which just opened in Burlington, Iowa, and opened a store last fall in Mason City, Iowa.
The store will sit next to SouthPark's 16th Street entrance and occupy the former Furnish 123, which recently relocated to East Moline, as well as the spaces of Wetzel's Pretzels and a vacant restaurant, which long ago housed Garfield's.
Dennis Gilliam, the property manager for SouthPark and NorthPark malls, both owned by Macerich Co., said the company could not comment on the Ashley project at this time.
Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri first announced the development in her State of the City address Monday.
"I think it's a fresh opportunity for SouthPark," she said in an interview Wednesday.
The Ashley store will become the latest investment for SouthPark, which unveiled a major remodeling in November 2014. The renovations, made by Macerich, demolished the closed Sears store and nearby food court, made other improvements and attracted a new Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Acri said the fact Ashley chose SouthPark "is an indicator that Macerich's investment is going to pay off."
Applauding Macerich's changes, she said "They have done so much in trying to reinvent that particular mall. It has a different look, a different feel and they're being aggressive in trying to repopulate it... But I don't think they're done. This is just a nice return on their investment."
Shawn Christ, the city's land development manager, said Ashley's building plans call for renovating the interior space, adding new landscaping and creating a new facade and face on the interior and exterior. He said customers will have interior and exterior entrances, much like the nearby Dick's store.
The store plans also comes three months after Olive Garden opened on an outlot at SouthPark.