Aveda, Planet Fitness headed to University Mall

tgrubb@newsobserver.comMay 24, 2014 

— University Mall is getting a facelift and three new tenants when Roses moves out at the end of June.

The town’s Community Design Commission approved new storefront design plans Wednesday after several questions about the mall’s planned renovation and the amount of retail replacing Roses.

Aveda Institute Chapel Hill – a cosmetology school at 200 W. Franklin St. since 2004 – has negotiated to move in by early 2015. A 24-hour Planet Fitness gym could join it by December, and a third, unnamed tenant is in the works, mall officials said.

A map on the University Mall website shows Aveda in a 16,037-square-foot space, Planet Fitness in another 21,469 square feet and a third, 3,143-square-foot site that only opens onto the parking lot facing Harris Teeter.

The renovation of Roses also will absorb a vacant storefront and an adjacent GNC store. GNC officials expect to get an updated store near A Southern Season.

Architect Bea de Paz, senior designer at Raleigh-based Gensler, agreed to seek an additional cursory review of the exterior colors later. The mall also will put the outside lighting on a timer.

Aveda “basically drove the design of this facade,” de Paz said. “They’re very environmentally friendly, the design sensibility’s there, and so it’s a great inspiration for us. We are using a lot of sustainable and natural materials.”

Roses is closing after 40 years as a mall anchor store. Company officials say they were told a renewed lease would cost more for less space.

Aveda will have a retail space at the parking lot entrance, de Paz said. Customers entering Planet Fitness from the parking lot will find a juice bar to one side, she said. University Mall general manager Peter De Leon said Planet Fitness could draw up to 2,200 people a day to the mall.

Both stores also will have interior entrances, which de Paz said could generate more foot traffic for other stores. Having Planet Fitness open around the clock encourages more activity in general, she said.

“We don’t want (University Mall) to close down at 5 o’clock, 6 o’clock every day,” de Paz said. “If they’re going to Planet Fitness, and they want to go to dinner, they can. So that’s something important to consider, too.”

University Mall will have a number of new businesses by next summer, De Leon said.

Construction has started in the former Dillard’s space on a 13-screen Silverspot Theater and restaurant, Tacos and Tequila, which could open by May 2015 if all goes well, he said. Three more retail shops are planned, the Azteca restaurant and Kidzu could open by fall, and other restaurants are being courted, he said.

Planet Fitness will be the third fitness-oriented business at University Mall, besides the specialty retailer TrySports and a smaller CrossFit gym.

“The beauty of it, the nice synergy of it, is Planet Fitness doesn’t offer classes,” De Leon said.

Aveda Institute Chapel Hill owner and President Patrick Thompson and the school’s current landlord Antoine Pueche, of West Franklin Preservation Partners, have declined to comment on the school’s move.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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