BY JENNIFER BAILEY
DANVILLE — It was a celebratory year for the Village Mall this year, and North Vermilion Street retail development projects continued to move along with construction.
The mall celebrated its 40th year, and progress was made on Kohl’s, Meijer and other retailers set to open in 2013.
At the start of 2012, site plans were still being finalized for Kohl’s, T. J. Maxx and Meijer at Vermilion Street and Boiling Springs Road.
Now Kohl’s will be finished within the next few months, anticipating a March opening; construction likely will start on T.J. Maxx’s building around the time Kohl’s opens and take a few months to complete with T.J. Maxx expected to open in the summer of 2013; and Meijer is expected to open by fall of 2013.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said changes with the detention pond and junior anchor space pushed back construction this year on the projects; but construction on Meijer has started to really move along.
Other developers also are looking at other sites along North Vermilion Street, including the former Pizza Hut location, and along Main and Gilbert streets.
Eisenhauer said there also remains interest from various restaurants.
City officials also have been excited about the small specialty businesses opening throughout the city this year, including new antique stores.
“That is the perfect niche for this market,” Eisenhauer said.
Construction also has continued on Ross Dress for Less at the mall. It’s also expected to open in 2013.
The mall opened 40 years ago with the first lessee being L.S. Ayers & Co.
The Ayr-Way general merchandise store would later become Target.
Mall developer-owner was Gene Stunkel. The mall cost $6.5 million.
J.C. Penney came in 1984. The mall saw other anchor additions in 1985, 1987 and 1991.
T Danville, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas, Texas-based real estate investment firm Tabani Group, purchased the Village Mall in 2011.
The mall has seen other improvements by owner Tabani Group, including a new paved parking lot, sidewalk and parking lighting, banners, entrance area by Garfield’s and children’s play area.
Mall Manager Cindy Compton said she looks forward to more tenants, including working again on a food court.
Construction this year also started on Aspen Dental near the mall; a new east side grocery store, Ruler Foods, at Griffin and Main streets; and a new McDonald’s at Bowman Avenue and Main Street. Rich’s Deluxe downtown also continues to see renovations wrap up.
Eisenhauer added that the commercial investments throughout the city, including façade renovations, also reinvigorate the city.
Another new development this year was the opening of the Tilton County Market. This year also marked the 30th year of Vermilion County’s economic development organization and the 10th anniversary of the creation of Vermilion Advantage.
The city saw Courtesy Ford and its Ford vehicles move to the former Vermilion Chevrolet site on North Vermilion Street. The Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealership stayed on Main Street.
Renovations also started on Fox Auto World at the former site of the A&W Root Beer Stand at 2828 N. Vermilion St. for a 2013 opening.