Developer shares big plans for Platte River Mall's second act
Although set design and exact cast lists are still being finished, Platte River Mall’s new owners expect to begin work on its second act not too shy of 50 years after the mall’s first groundbreaking.
When they start, so will North Platte’s most dramatic recent business facelift.
The mall’s 241,000-square-foot main structure will be recast as a multibay strip mall, Rev Development co-owner Mike Works of Lincoln said Thursday.
Residents also will see several new outbuildings throughout the 40-acre site, notably a four-story, 100-unit mixed-use apartment building anchored by ground-level retail and entertainment.
“The key to this is a living community where you have people living there, you have entertainment at night and you have a lot of retail establishments that are fun,” Works said.
“They’re shopping experiences, but more day-to-day shopping experiences.”
Works, who presented initial concepts to city and business leaders in late January, expects to present Rev’s formal proposal in early March and gain Planning Commission and City Council approval by the end of April.
Construction of what long was simply named “The Mall” — with a simple design to match — began with groundbreaking on June 25, 1971.
It opened on April 12, 1972, with some 30 store areas designated inside its walls. That won’t be true after reconstruction.
If their city timetable holds, Works and partner Justin Hernandez expect residents to see “some significant changes likely by fall” and the mixed-use building ready for occupancy by late 2022.
The mall’s main entrances and west wall — always practically devoid of shop signs or customer doors — will be torn out north of Ashley HomeStore and the former AMC six-plex movie theater.
The straight-line indoor promenades will disappear, too, Works said. “Within two years, there will not be any interior mall footprint” resembling the first 50 years.
A series of larger retail bays will take over, each running from the mall’s east wall to the west and welcoming all customers on the South Dewey Street side with new entrances and drive-up parking.
“I think it’s an absolute priority that every business, no matter where it is, will have parking right next to its front door,” Works said.
“I don’t know that there will be much retail on the east side,” he added. “That will have other types of uses.”
The fewest structural changes will be needed on the south end, now home to Ashley — its newest and current lone anchor — and the theaters closed a year ago when COVID-19 struck.
Works said talks are going well with a potential operator of the multiplex, which will need substantial internal renovations and replacement of movie equipment removed when AMC pulled out.
He said the theaters’ new operator won’t be their old one, though AMC — already facing bankruptcy before the pandemic — had most of its debts wiped out in the recent small-investor Wall Street rebellion mainly centered on the GameStop video store chain.
A new theater operator “should be in the mall and in operation in about six months,” Works said. But “I am 99% sure it’s not going to be AMC.”
He and Hernandez are working with all of Platte River Mall’s current tenants to find room for them in their overall concept for the entire property, he said. Continue reading here.