A plan to breathe new life into the Santa Maria Town Center appears to be working, as construction of a new 14-screen Regal Cinema continues on track for a fall opening and is also piquing the interest of some large — so far unnamed — retail chains.
That’s exactly what new owner ERGS XIV REO Owner LLC hoped would happen after purchasing the two-story mall last October.
Since then, crews demolished the vacant former Gottschalks department store and have begun constructing the new cinema, which is to open in October.
“They’re doing everything to stay on track or ahead at this point,” she said.
The foundation is complete, so crews are now in the beginning stages of building masonry walls, she added. In less than three weeks, crews will start steel work, which will lead into roofing.
In perhaps the most exciting development, nationally known retailers are showing interest in returning to the mall.
“Much of this construction has built the interest of larger retail chains, and many of those are in the making,” Lease said. “We will continue to release info as we sign more tenants.”
Already inside the mall, a new pet store called Animal Kingdom will open sometime this week, and new batting cages and soccer facilities on the second floor will soon follow, Lease said.
The additions are part of the new mall owners’ efforts to reintroduce family-oriented entertainment to the once-forgotten space.
Animal Kingdom will go into the space previously occupied by the former Lost World Pets store, which has been remodeled into a larger unit.
On Deck, an indoor facility with two batting cages, will open later this month in more than 7,000 square feet that used to be Anchor Blue. Kickers indoor soccer will fill 10,000 square feet of vacant space next door to On Deck, with an opening planned for April.