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Shoebilee leaves Five Points Mall

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CLOSING TIME: Shoebilee has closed its doors for the final time. Jim McDowell, general manager of the mall, said the shoe store's lease had expired. He said the store chose to leave instead of move to the front of the mall, a move necessary for the impending veterans college.
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BOXES:UPS worker Josiah Staton hauls boxes of unsold shoes from Shoebilee out of the Five Points Mall.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

Five Points Mall is one store emptier as Shoebilee closed its doors on Sunday. At the same time, the transition to a veterans college is inching closer.

While Shoebilee employees were not able to speak for the company, Five Points Mall General Manager Jim McDowell said that the store’s lease had come to an end.

Due to the potential veterans college that has been in the works, the store was going to have to move to the front of the mall to join the retail center, but McDowell said the store declined to do so, choosing to instead close down its Marion location.

Now the mall only houses Roses, Planet Fitness, Applebee’s, Payless and a few mom and pop stores including Jazz’N G’s Crafts and Gifts, according to McDowell.

As for the progress of the veterans college which was originally presented to the City Council in June, McDowell said they are still waiting on paperwork to make everything official as the building has not been sold yet. Charles Everhardt of Lockwood Development in Nebraska had projected purchasing the building in October, according to previous Chronicle-Tribune reports.

“Everything is going forward as was told a few months ago regarding the college and reconstruction of retail in front, that is still moving forward,” McDowell said.

McDowell said Lockwood has been “working diligently” on the college and is “90 percent approved” by the federal government and should be purchased by mid-February. Everhardt has said that some funding will come from the GI Bill, a law that provides expanded educational benefits to military veterans. 

Demolition and reconstruction will also begin sometime mid-February or early March, according to McDowell.

Some of the mom and pop stores located in the back of the mall will have to move to the front of the mall to join the retail center if they choose to stick around. McDowell said he doesn’t expect the stores to have to make that decision for another year.

Lockwood had not confirmed this timeline with the C-T as of Tuesday afternoon.

To fill what will be the retail center at the front of the mall, McDowell said Lockwood has tossed around the idea of bringing in another restaurant as well as entertainment items such as go-karting, trampolines and rock climbing which he expects to begin around the time of demolition and reconstruction.

McDowell will still remain the mall’s general manager, overseeing the retail portion of the mall which could include the entertainment pieces Lockwood might bring in. He said he hopes to see growth within the mall.

“I’m hoping they fill up the retail spots quickly and to continue to go forward in that aspect,” he said. “And I look forward to the college being a large draw for the Marion area.”