Crossroads Mall in Gulfport may soon have to post a "No Vacancy" sign. Mall officials say they are on the verge of sealing a deal with a new tenant.
Belk, a department store chain, has already announced its plans to open inside what was once Albertson's Grocery.
Saturday, employees celebrated the grand opening of a new financial center designed to better serve the growing number of Gulfport customers north of the Interstate. Bank officials say when they went looking for a site, Crossroads Mall seemed like the right location.
"We felt that having a strong presence in this area would allow people to come to an area like the shopping mall, which is very convenient for them," said branch manager Regina Lawrence. "Also a lot of people live in this area. The residential community is building and growing up here."
Hancock Bank won't be known as the newest addition to Crossroads Mall for long. Mall officials say plans are underway to replace two major stores the shopping center lost earlier this year.
Mall marketing agent Brooks Holstein said "We will be the only center in South Mississippi that has a department store anchor, so we think that will enable us to start the fashion collection at Crossroads, which is approximately a 40,000-square-foot development area between Friday's and Pier One Imports."
Officials say the mall's strongest asset is how well its shops, restaurants and other businesses compliment each other. Holstein says the future of Crossroads Mall includes moving into phase two of the shopping center. He says the mall is in negotiations with a discount retail department store to build a 150,000-square-foot site.