Empire Mall is getting a facelift - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Empire Mall is getting a facelift

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It's the state's number one tourist attraction.

And today, it made a big announcement about plans for its future.

With just 83 days before Christmas, many of us will be spending time there.

But we may not recognize it a year from now.

After 37 years, this mall is getting a multi-million dollar face lift.

A little over a year from now,  the mall will have new entrances, signage, new flooring and ceilings.

No more gold... Say good-bye to the 1970s and hello to a new mall for this decade.

Neil Smith runs a toy kiosk in the mall.  He's a little nervous about the upcoming construction but excited about the future.

"A few nervous things, possibly with parking, maybe just making it more of a hassle to getting where we're used to getting. maybe a few things like that. really not certain on how they're going to do the construction, how it's going to affect us just yet," Smith said.

Empire Mall General Manager Dennis Gilliam said the inconvenience should be minimal.

"We're hopeful the customer experience will not be interrupted or disrupted any more than is absolutely necessary. most of the work will be done at night and then the next morning you'll see what they did," Gilliam said.

The mall will be completely transformed inside and out in less than a year's time.

"It's actually ten months from start to finish and we anticipate that it's going to be a very aggressive construction period. we hope to be finished by the 1st of November so we can go back into the holiday season next year, fully renovated," Gilliam said.

The mall should be ready before Christmas next year but don't expect Santa's little elves to do the work.

"We anticipate using a general contractor that a national contractor who will use mostly local contractors for their subs," Gilliam said.

Beside construction jobs,  the mayor says the renovations will benefit our community.

Mayor Mike Huether said "we have these tourists come to our mall, they spend money and they usually spend a lot of money. that generates a ton of sales tax revenue for this city and yes, to the state."

The Empire Mall is the state's number one tourist attraction, but after speaking with the South Dakota Department of Tourism, they told me more people visit the mall each year than Mount Rushmore.

Gilliam says they've been planning the renovations all year long.  Construction is scheduled to start after the holiday shopping season.

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