WARWICK – The interior of the Rhode Island Mall will close May 22, the city confirmed Thursday.
The firm that manages the mall's interior area has notified the inside stores they must leave, said Sue Baker, a spokeswoman for Mayor Scott Avedisian. A woman who answered the phone Thursday morning at the management firm, Neville Commercial and Investment Real Estate, said the firm had no comment and hung up.
The city has offered to help the few stores that remain in the two-level mall find new locations, Baker said. The anchor stores – Kohl’s, Sears and Wal-Mart – are expected to remain open.
The mall, opened in 1967 as the Midland Mall, has been largely empty for years. Last summer the R.I. Division of Motor Vehicles closed its office at the mall, costing the interior of the shopping center its primary source of foot traffic.
In 2005, the mall was transferred to GLL Rhode Island Mall LP, a German pension fund. A representative from Eastern Real Estate LLC, which manages the property for the fund, declined to comment.
The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. owns a master lease on the inside of the mall, spokeswoman Suzi Robinson told Providence Business News Thursday afternoon. She said the supermarket chain was “looking at different options” for the inside of the mall, but nothing had been decided.
When Stop & Shop secured its lease in 2003, analysts said the company might have just been trying to keep Wal-Mart from expanding into the space and opening its own supermarket.
Article update includes Stop & Shop confirming its lease.