Forever 21 to lease Belk floor

Forever 21 to lease Belk floor

September 3rd, 2010 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Sep2, 2010 James Weathers, with Adman Electric, works in the Hamilton Place Belk store Thursday afternoon. Mens clothing will be moved into the area as merchandise is rearranged to make room for a Forever 21 store to lease the upper floor.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press...

Forever 21, a specialty fashion retailer, will lease the top level of one of the Belk stores at Hamilton Place mall.

"They've been in demand for quite some time," said Catharine Wells, a mall spokeswoman. "They've created quite a name for themselves in the junior apparel industry because they've been able to bring the hottest, latest, newest fashions ... to the market fast."

The store will be Forever 21's first in Chattanooga, she said. Work on the unit will begin in October, and the store is slated to open in early 2011.

Forever 21 will lease the 60,000-square-foot space that currently is the top level of the Belk men's and home store at the mall. Belk is consolidating that store into its lower level as part of a $4 million renovation of both its Hamilton Place mall locations.

Dixie Minatra, Belk's regional manager, said Forever 21 will attract more customers to Hamilton Place.

"We're pleased Forever 21 will be joining us," she said.

Howard Grody, senior vice president of leasing for mall owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc., said Forever 21 is known for its "to-the-minute fashions." He said the retailer complements recent mall additions Coach and Bare Essentials.

Belk announced the remodeling of its two Hamilton Place stores in May, saying the moves will give it "a stronger merchandise presentation."

The "grand opening" of the renovated Belk space is set for Oct. 13, though both stores have remained in operation. Belk said its children's department will be relocated from the men's, home and children's store to the women's unit.

Also, Belk said its juniors area is receiving a major overhaul and shifting from the first level to the top floor of its women's store.