Several stores and restaurants on North Platte residents’ “wish list” could be within reach if the City Council fully embraces the $75 million redevelopment plan of Platte River Mall’s new owners.
Mike Works of Lincoln, co-owner of Rev Development LLC, on Friday offered a fuller glimpse into his firm’s recruiting efforts as well as artist’s renderings of the reimagined 49-year-old mall.
He confirmed that Golden Ticket Cinemas, a budding seven-state chain, signed a lease Thursday for the mall’s shuttered AMC six-plex movie theater. It’ll reopen by fall after roughly $600,000 of remodeling to suit the new operator’s plans, Works said.
Works said negotiations are nearing completion with Dunham’s Sports, which would replace Hibbett Sports and take over much of the 1972 main mall’s south half north of Ashley HomeStore.
It depends, Works said, on whether the council will approve all, part or none of Rev’s requested help to gradually offset just over one-fifth of its plan’s costs.
It’s especially pivotal, he said, whether council members will back a proposed ordinance Tuesday to enable collection of a temporary 1.95% “enhanced employment area” tax limited to the 28-acre mall complex.
Without EEA, he said, “there’s just zero money” to fully renovate the main mall.
Works said his firm, which has built and redeveloped shopping areas across Nebraska, has reached out to several businesses west central Nebraskans now must drive to Kearney to reach.
He said earlier this month that Rev has held serious talks with Hy-Vee Food Stores and Target Corp., both of which have Kearney outlets. Target also has a Scottsbluff store.
On Friday, Works mentioned a few more:
Old Navy. TJ Maxx. Panda Express. Buffalo Wings & Rings. Old Chicago. Marshall’s. Panera Bread. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. A local microbrewery.
“It’s the logical next store (beyond Kearney) for a lot of these companies,” said Works, adding that he also plans to contact Kohl’s department stores. That chain recently expanded to Kearney.
But “if those are the ones we’re going to go after, we have to spend significantly more to get them to the mall,” he said.
He said council support of all three pieces of Rev’s assistance package — tax increment financing, the EEA tax and a Quality Growth Fund loan — will secure the resources Rev needs to almost completely recast the aging mall.
One rendering Works released Friday shows Rev’s planned four-story apartment-commercial building. It would rise near the mall’s South Dewey Street entrance at the approximate location of Nebraskaland Tire & Service, which would relocate within the mall complex.
The other shows the main mall as an outward-facing strip mall, with Ashley and the movie theater out of view to the right of where Dunham’s would go.
Besides the four-story structure, Rev would build 10 other new outbuildings and eventually tear down three of four existing outbuildings. The Verizon Wireless building would remain.
Works said the all-new buildings and a transformed main mall all would generate the funds to provide Rev’s $8.12 million in TIF and $7.51 million in EEA aid and replace reserved city sales tax funds financing a $1 million QGF loan.
The latter, which the council also will consider Tuesday, would be forgiven if Rev completes at least $30 million in new mall development within three years. The TIF request and the EEA tax itself wouldn’t be considered until May 18.
If the council backs the entire $16.63 million aid package, Works said, Rev can do all its reconstruction upfront and wait for the TIF and EEA funds to accumulate to recoup a combined $15.63 million.
But if TIF, EEA or both fall short in the council, Works said, Rev will run out of money before it can give the main mall much more than a touchup.
If the council should reject the EEA tax but grant TIF and the QGF loan, he said, Rev can build the new four-story building and a couple of new buildings, remodel the movie theater and prepare the space Dunham’s will need.
But Works said Rev’s funds wouldn’t stretch far enough to upgrade most of the main mall’s internal systems — water, sewer, electrical and HVAC — or the bulk of the crumbling parking lot.
Except for the needed work for Dunham’s and the movie theater, he said, the main mall “will be the same tired mall that you have now.”
And if none of Rev’s aid requests clears the council, he said, there wouldn’t be redevelopment on the rest of the mall property, either.
The QGF loan, he added, would make the difference between a minor freshening of the main mall’s appearance and rebuilding its exteriors as shown in the artist’s rendering.
No matter what, Works said, North Platte residents will have a reopened movie multiplex once it’s updated for what its new lessee wants to offer.
AMC, which had taken over the mall theaters in 2017 from Carmike Cinemas, closed them as the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020. It announced last July that they wouldn’t reopen.
Works said Golden Ticket Cinemas, which operates the Hilltop Mall 4 in Kearney and Scottsbluff’s Monument Mall multiplex, consists of former AMC and Carmike officials.
“They know the industry,” he said. “They’re still very bullish that movies are coming back and people want to have an experience in a movie theater and not just sit around and watch TV.”
He said Golden Ticket’s leaders also have “a vision of bringing a big-city movie experience to a smaller town,” including hot food, better restrooms and recliners for a majority of each theater’s seats.
The chain, which now has 10 locations and soon will expand to 13, might seek a liquor license later, Works added.
Dunham’s Sports, a 240-store chain with stores in Hastings and the Scottsbluff and Fremont malls, offers hunting and fishing gear as well as athletic equipment.
More by Todd von Kampen
5 enticing looks at North Platte's history
2020 was a year that will make history, but it was also a year for us to reflect on our own local history. Special projects reporter Todd von Kampen shares some of his favorite stories from this year that highlight our past.
It was an honor to write about Ira L. Bare’s legacy in the centennial year of his two-volume 1920 history of Lincoln County.
This story looks at the homes the Codys owned during their years here and gave readers a look inside the 1930 home on the second Welcome Wigwam site.
The Telegraph offered extended looks at major museums and communities preserving the legacy of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
We connected Mark Schults of North Platte with the family of the World War II serviceman whose 1944 letter was found on the back of a framed card.