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by Ezra Mann

Walk through The Pines mall on any given day and you’ll notice the usual busy nature of the average shopping center. Look a little closer and you might notice that the number of vacancies in the shopping center is far from just a handful.

Kandy M. White, general manager at The Pines, said that the mall is currently about 70 percent occupied and that while stores come and go all the time, she doesn’t expect the mall to sustain many more tenant losses.

The Pines’ Web site currently lists 68 stores in the mall directory and White added that it was a big blow when the Wal-Mart store, attached to the mall property, closed a few years ago, reopening as a supercenter on Olive Street.

Of mall businesses listed on the Web site, a tour of the center will show that two new unlisted businesses, Buckle Up and Regency Jewelers, are in the mall and one, Gold & Diamonds, is no longer there. It will also show that 16 spaces are currently unoccupied, some for rent, and two kiosk carts are unoccupied.

The mall’s interior directory is dated, listing a number of former tenants.

White is employed by General Growth Properties, owner of the mall, and according to a Dec. 10 analysis by Market Watch, a licenser of market news, General Growth is one of the largest U.S.-based publicly traded real estate investment trusts, or REIT, with a portfolio of more than 200 regional shopping malls in 45 states. The analysis also stated that their portfolio includes approximately 200 million square feet and at least 24,000 retail stores nationwide.

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