Martinsburg Mall plans improvements

September 12, 2012

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A planned redevelopment of a Martinsburg Mall anchor location will add ambiance and activity, with new restaurants and shops, as well as an open-air courtyard for special events, the mall’s owners said in a news release.

“We’re really excited about all the possibilities this project presents,” General Manager Robert Gardner said in the release. “We’re already in negotiations with several national retailers that would blend well with our current tenants and enhance the mall’s overall shopping experience.”

Mountain State University, which owns the mall, filed proposed project plans with the Martinsburg Planning Commission on Aug. 30. The documents, which revise the mall’s long-term master plan for enhancements, are expected to be considered by the planning commission at its October meeting.

The project is focused at the former Sears anchor location.

“The landscaped courtyard, with its open-air concept and amenities, will be an additional location for activities and promotions for the entire mall,” Gardner said.

Included in the plans is an update and relocation of Martinsburg Mall’s primary signage adjacent to Interstate 81.

Preliminary designs call for the new sign to be as high as 60 feet tall, featuring both anchor stores and interior tenants.

Michele Sarrett, chief financial officer for Mountain State University, said redevelopment and modernization efforts represent responsible stewardship of the investment made by Mountain State in rescuing the mall from bankruptcy two years ago.

“The proposed revision to the master plan takes the mall to the next level by creating a new shopping experience for the mall’s patrons,” Sarrett said.

“The plan demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Martinsburg and the mall. While (Mountain State University) may not continue under its present name, the mall remains a viable investment that will continue to receive the attention it deserves.”

In June, the Higher Learning Commission revoked Mountain State’s accreditation because of leadership, organizational and integrity issues. The accreditation later was extended to Dec. 31.

The University of Charleston has taken over Mountain State’s campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg so students can complete their degrees.

Enrollment down
Mountain State University’s enrollment has plummeted since it lost its accreditation, according to The Associated Press.

Interim vice president Thomas Mann said 1,080 students are enrolled in a teach-out plan.

That’s down from 9,000 students at the school’s various campuses in 2010.

Mann said about 300 students are attending classes at the private university’s Beckley campus and 550 are online students. Others are pursuing independent studies or are in cohort groups working toward a specific program.

For more information about the Martinsburg Mall, call 304-262-8037.

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