Steeplegate Mall and Regal Cinema would become retail and 625 residential units under the new plan

This story was originally produced by Concord Monitor. NHPR is republishing it in partnership with the Granite State News Collaborative.

The owner of Steeplegate Mall has submitted plans to the city of Concord proposing to demolish most of the sprawling shopping complex as well as the adjacent Regal Cinema, creating a large mixed-use development of retail buildings and 625 residential units in its place.

Steeplegate Mall Realty has submitted an application to the city for a comprehensive development plan, which is a concept plan. The Planning Board is scheduled to hear it at its October meeting.

Details are still in flux, but the overall proposal would replace most of the vacant portions of the mall, leaving J.C. Penney as a stand-alone structure and the existing trampoline park as well as the current health club as another stand-alone structure. The Zoo Health Club is to be moved to an empty space recently occupied by a charter school that was formerly part of the Bon Ton store. The Regal Cinema building will also be demolished.

The plan calls for the construction of five residential buildings throughout the property, four or five stories high, with a total of 625 units. Half will be one-bedroom and the other half will be two-bedroom.

An approximately 173,000-square-foot retail building will be built where the main entrance to the former food court with the large clock now stands. This is equivalent to about a third of the size of the current mall. Several other stand-alone retail units are proposed in the plan, including one to replace the Regal Cinema. Most of the property will remain or be converted into a sidewalk or buildings, with hundreds of parking spaces on offer.

Little information has been provided to the few tenants who remain at the mall, said Andrew Benard, owner of the Hutbox Theater.

“We’d love to stay. I’m glad something is being done with the property. I’m actually cautiously optimistic when I talk to developers, they’ll recognize the value of having a theater,” Benard said. “It’s really frustrating when we’re programming shows until August of next year …And we are not able to communicate with anyone.”

Steeplegate Mall opened in 1990, near the end of the country’s mall building boom, with capacity for about 60 stores, including four anchor tenants and a large food hall. It has struggled for a decade, and now has only one major tenant, J.C. Penney, while the food hall has been closed for several years.

Steeplegate Mall was sold in 2016 to Namdar Realty Group of New York, which had been looking for alternative uses for the slowly emptying structure for years. The interior of the mall closed in September 2022, evicting the five remaining tenants. Tenants that remained, such as J.C. Penney, the Zoo Health Club, the Hatbox Theater, and the new pickleball complex, all had separate entrances.

The nearby Applebee’s restaurant and the TD Bank building are separate properties and would not be affected by the proposed redevelopment.

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