Part of former Phoenix Village Mall to be demolished in $2 million property upgrade

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 4,461 views 

Entrance of the Furr's Cafeteria when it was located inside Phoenix Village Mall.

Lance Beaty, through his company FSM Holdings, will invest about $2 million in the demolition of 100,000 square feet of the former Phoenix Village Mall and construction of walking trails, green space and other amenities for those who work in the remaining buildings.

Beaty, along with partner Dr. Steve Nelson of Fort Smith, purchased the 35-acre and almost abandoned Phoenix Village Mall at 4600 Towson Ave., in January 2009. FSM Holdings has invested more than $16 million in renovation, and the location is home to around 1,300 jobs through the Shared Services Center owned by Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, and a call center operated by Tampa, Fla.-based Sykes.

The demolition will remove some of the more iconic parts of the old mall, including the theater area, interior rock features and the space that once housed Furr’s Cafeteria. The demolition and amenity work is expected to be finished by Dec. 1. Demolition is expected to begin Aug. 17.

“Once demolished, the result will be three free-standing buildings with additional parking and green space. The Sykes building (former Home World), The Professional Building (former Frougs department store), and the Shared Services Center (former Woolco) will all be standalone buildings. In place of the demolished mall buildings additional greenspace, walking trail, landscaping, shaded break areas, and additional parking will be added to create a more open and campus-like feel,” noted a press release from FSM Holdings.

The estimated $2 million project cost does not include planned renovation work in 40,000 square foot of the professional building.

When the 489,000-square-foot mall first opened in 1970 it was the only fully enclosed mall in the state. According to FSM Holdings, the mall was developed by Jewel Morris and Howard Gentry, and the adjacent retail strip centers date back to 1957 and were anchored TG&Y discount store, Oklahoma Tire and Supply (OTASCO), and the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket.

Before and after look at rock features inside the former Phoenix Village mall in Fort Smith.

Stores in the mall have included Beall Ladymon, Hunt’s, Greg’s department stores, Venture department store, and Woolco after it closed. The mall comprised 489,000 square feet.

In 2013, FSM Holdings renovated 89,000 square feet of the mall space for the Shared Services Center. In 2016, thanks to an $18 million loan supported by eight Arkansas banks, an additional 36,000 square feet was renovate for Shared Services and the company extended its lease agreement. Also, Sykes expanded in 2016 adding an additional 20,000 square feet to its space on the site and extending its lease term.

A large part of the mall property – 225,000 square feet – was damaged in May 2019 by an EF-1 tornado resulting in almost $10 million in damages, according to FSM Holdings.

“In the aftermath of the tornado, a portion of the Sykes space was gutted and completely rebuilt and 100,000 square feet of new tapered roofing systems were installed on the Sykes building and the Professional Building. Immediate repairs and stabilization from the tornado cost approximately $3 million,” noted the FSM Holdings statement.

While not part of FSM Holdings, Beaty, through another company, is also demolishing the old Shoney’s restaurant building and a church building that front Towson Avenue.

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