Bismarck's Kirkwood Mall to get a face-lift

Feb 8, 2018

Kirkwood Mall, Bismarck.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

50 years ago, ground was broken for Bismarck’s Kirkwood Mall.

Now, the Mall is undergoing a face-lift.

Part of the reason for it was a flood the mall suffered a year ago. Proceeds from the insurance settlement will help pay for the renovation.

Plans include new flooring, new paint, new chairs and places for people to stand or sit around small tables.

Keith Grotewald owns Lee’s Hallmark, one of the original stores in the mall, opening in 1970. He said the mall has changed along with shoppers’ wants and needs.

"When it opened, the mall was like a new town square," Grotewald said. "We had all kinds of things -- dog shows, boat shows, fashion shows, bake sales -- you name it."

Grotewald said he hopes the update will keep that spirit.

"It was the place to meet, and it continues to be that," Grotewald said. "With the renovation, we'll see that continuing."

Nationally, there have been reports about malls in decline, especially because of the rise in on-line shopping. Mall general manager Jennifer Wilson said she has seen how the growth in on-line sales has affected some retail. But she said localism gives Kirkwood some advantages.

"We have 25 stores in our mall that are locally owned," Wilson said. "That has helped us. And it gives us a really good stance with the community."

And Wilson said she hopes millennials will be attracted to what the mall will offer.

"The millennials like an experience," Wilson said. "They want to go somewhere and have fun and hang out. That's what the mall is going to provide for them."

Wilson said Kirkwood right now has an 84 percent occupancy rate.

The renovation begins next week. It will likely be completed this fall. Wilson said she doesn't yet have a cost for the changes.