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Changing Plans Spells Trouble to Norwichtown Commons

The Norwichtown Commons is holding a ground breaking ceremony even though they were only able to attract two tenants that were not in the former Norwichtown Mall.

Can the Norwichtown Commons bring in tenants new to Eastern Connecticut and gain back the when it was anchored by Caldor, Styles, and Burr’s? Unfortunately the odds seem to be quite small despite positive press coverage.

Local news outlets reported that seven retailers have signed leases for the former;y enclosed shopping mall known as the Norwichtown Mall. 

The tenants include Stop and Shop, Dress Barn, Dollar Tree, Fancy Nails, an unnamed Chinese restaurant, Hair Cuttery and PetSense. They will all have separate outdoor entrances. Only the last two would be new to the center. 

Hair Cuttery already has several Eastern Connecticut locations including Uncasville, Groton, and Lisbon while the nearest Petsense is in Westbrook.  

Eagle Rock Retail released a January 2012 drawing, reported exclusively by Montville Patch, that showed the center would include a frozen yogurt shop, an outdoor seating area, cellular store, burgers and fries restaurant, Aztec Tanning Salon, ladies fashion shop, junior fashion store, shoe store, a 22,000-square-foot junior anchor, and a 6,000-square-foot outparcel restaurant without a drive-thru component. 

The restaurant would have been a similar size as the Chili’s in Lisbon. 

A newer version of the schematic shows the center would consist of a small sporting goods store, pizza shop, cards and gifts shop, beauty supply store, shoe store, pet supply store, a 20,000-square-foot health club, and a 30,000-square-foot junior anchor store. 

The latest version, released April 26, 2012, identifies only seven signed tenants and seven vacant spaces. 

All versions included Stop and Shop, Dress Barn, and Dollar Tree. 

Phase 1 of the project will start this summer and include the demolition of the mall from Dress Barn to the former Caldor store.

Phase 2 will start this fall and will divide the former Caldor into two new junior anchor spaces of 30,555-square-feet and 20,000-square-feet.

Winstanley Enterprises, LLC and Surrey Equities are sponsoring a groundbreaking ceremony on May 24 at 10 a.m., only a month after a ceremony at the newly reopened and renovated Dress Barn. 

Norwich officials were on hand for that ceremony and believed the reopening of the store will “lure new shoppers into the area” and believes the city will experience an economic revitalization when the mall’s $8.5 million renovations are completed this fall. 

On the contrary, this blogger believes that based on ever changing plans, the failure to entice exciting and new stores not already in Eastern Connecticut, and a soft economy, the new commons may be a flop. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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