With a quarter of U.S. malls predicted to close in the next three to five years, we asked retail analysts for their thoughts on what could take over empty store space.

Delaware News Journal

Construction crews recently began renovating the former Saks Off 5th in the Christiana Fashion Center, which will house Delaware’s second Trader Joe’s grocery store.

It is still unclear when the store will open. Representatives from Trader Joe’s did not respond to requests for comment.

New Castle County issued a permit for a future Trader Joe’s in April, ending years of speculation around whether the grocery store chain would open any more stores in the First State. It’s lone Delaware location is off Concord Pike near the Delaware-Pennsylvania border.

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Crews have started renovating the former Saks Off 5th in the Christiana Fashion Center, shown on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Part of the building will be a Trader Joe’s grocery store, the company’s second store in Delaware. (Photo: Brandon Holveck/Delaware News Journal)

It appears Trader Joe’s will take about half of the existing building, which is nearly 32,000 square feet. Online listings indicate an 18,000 square-foot vacancy is still available, and a permit has been approved to construct another storefront and loading dock.

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Saks Off 5th, the outlet brand for Saks Fifth Avenue, closed its fashion center store in Oct. 2019, amid slumping sales for the chain. One of about 10 stores to open in the center’s first phase in the fall of 2015, it was the first big store to close. It was the only Saks Off 5th in Delaware.

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Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th located in the new Christiana Fashion Center is closing in October. (Photo: Jennifer Corbett, Delaware News Journal)

Trader Joe’s will be the first grocery store in the shopping center, which also features Nordstrom Rack, Homesense, Edge Fitness and Main Event. It’s one of two future grocery stores that have generated excitement in New Castle County.

A Wegmans is being built on a 56-acre property at the intersection off Del. 141 and Lancaster Pike as part of a mixed-use development with residences, shops and offices. It’s taking the place of a DuPont Co. office complex that was demolished this fall.

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Lidl, a discount German grocer, is also planning to open its first store in New Castle County at some point next year. It will be in Bear at Pulaski Highway and Salem Church Road.

Like knowing what stores and restaurants are coming and going in Delaware? Join our Facebook group, What’s Going There in Delaware.

Contact Brandon Holveck at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @holveck_brandon.

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