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Published May 18, 2010, 12:00 AM

West Acres mall gets two new stores

Two new tenants will be coming to West Acres Regional Shopping Center in Fargo by the end of this year.
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By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

Two new tenants will be coming to West Acres Regional Shopping Center in Fargo by the end of this year.

Forever 21, a clothing and accessories retailer, will move into the Sears wing, filling the former Walgreens and two adjoining spaces.

The Finish Line, which carries name-brand athletic shoes, apparel and accessories, plans to open its store in August.

Both stores are shown on the West Acres lease plan on its website. Mall Manager Rusty Papachek said he could not confirm the new stores, but representatives with both corporations did.

Papachek did say with those additions, the mall would be more than 99 percent occupied. The only vacancy would be a 690-square-foot space near the Aquarium Entrance.

Another new store, women’s boutique Apricot Lane, has started construction and will open in July in the J.C. Penney wing.

“It’s very exciting to have a mall that’s 100 percent occupied,” Papachek said. “When you look at the rest of the country, a lot of malls are struggling for occupancy rates.”

Vacancies at regional and super-regional shopping centers increased to 8.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to research firm Reis Inc. This is the highest rate since the New York-based real estate research company began tracking data in 2000. Vacancies in these larger malls were at 8.8 percent the previous three months and 7.9 percent a year earlier.

Forever 21 has 480 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, with international operations in Canada, South Korea and Japan.

According to Forever21.com, this will be the first Forever 21 store in North Dakota. The West Acres location will carry Forever 21 apparel and accessories as well as brands such as Heritage 1981, 21MEN and Love 21.

The Fargo store will be nearly 20,000 square feet, filling the old Walgreens site as well as two neighboring spaces. One of these spots was long home to Tradehome Shoes, which moved down the main corridor earlier this year. The other is the Maps, Travel and More space, owned by Dale Weiler of Fargo. Weiler said he is trying to find a new location outside the mall.

The Finish Line will move into the former B. Dalton Booksellers space, which totals about 3,700 square feet.

The Finish Line has more than 660 stores in 47 states, including one in Grand Forks. It’s a mall-based retailer that had nearly $1.2 billion in net sales for fiscal year 2010, said spokesman Patrick Dolan.

“Essentially, our focus is to reach out to young, sports-minded, fashion-conscience individuals with our premium selection of footwear, apparel and accessories,” Dolan said.

He said the company recognized Fargo as “a great opportunity.”

“We’re a mall retailer, so it makes sense for us and our plans to strategically grow the business,” he said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

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