KENNER, La. (WVUE) - The City of Kenner has plans to revitalize the Esplanade Mall by turning the facility into a mixed-use space.
Many stores inside mall sit empty, and have been for a while.
The lack of foot traffic is something Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn hopes to change.
"We're moving our Kenner gymnastics program to this old Old Navy spot, and we're also going to put the Kenner Recreation Department in that front area right there," Zahn said.
He said they’re also looking to fill the vacant Macy’s department.
"As soon as we start getting more going here in the City of Kenner, I believe that the Esplanade Mall management owners will be able to further their discussions because of the foot traffic we will bring in," Zahn said.
Some customers welcome the change.
"Hopefully it will help the mall. It's really dead in there. There's not much shopping available, like popular stores like Forever 21, things like that," Jillian Tran said.
"It is a little bit of a dying location so I think it definitely would help a lot more people to come in here," Brittany Hollingsworth said.
Zahn said they're considering adding city government departments, interactive kid-friendly activities, and even condos.
“I think it will be a mixed use. There’s still talks of some type of living establishment coming somewhere at the mall, some type of apartment, condos. You obviously have the movie theater, you have the church that’s coming at the old movie theater, not our new one,” Zahn said
Zahn said although the mall is not booming, it still brings in a significant amount of money for the city.
“Look, people say that the mall is in trouble. The mall may not have what other malls have in the area. I’mma tell you, we get close to a million dollars in sales tax from this footprint. I never want to see these doors close,” Zahn said
"I think it's whatever takes advantage of the market for them is easier, whatever gets more people in, I understand," Hollingsworth said.
Zahn said the gymnastics program and Recreation Department should be in the mall July first.