HOOVER, Alabama -- The $60 million redevelopment of Hoover's Riverchase Galleria is in full swing, but shoppers should not expect too many disruptions in their normal routines.
Officials with Birmingham's Hoar Construction, general contractor for the project, have outlined new details of the major renovations at Alabama's busiest shopping mall.
Work will be seen across the property, from the addition of a Von Maur department store to updates of the parking decks, pedestrian bridges, mall entrances and restrooms.
Under way are the renovations to the restrooms in the food court, said Mark Hendricks, vice president of Hoar's Alabama Division, and his brother, Tim Hendricks, senior project manager for the company.
"That will be complete before the Christmas shopping season," Mark Hendricks said. "They are currently closed, and there is signage and directions to other restrooms in the area."
In September, the parking deck phase of the project will begin. Most of that work will be done at night, so there will be few public access issues.
A couple of stair towers will be closed, but the parking deck itself will remain accessible to shoppers.
Also starting this fall is work to relocate the prominent elevators in the food court. The existing elevators will remain in operation until the new ones are installed.
The new ones will not be in a drastically different location. But they will be shifted to give better visibility to the Von Maur space, which sits behind the existing elevators.
The new elevators will not be glass like they are now.
The elevator work will not be complete until after the holiday season. Other work, including the mall entrance upgrades, will occur after the holidays.
The Galleria's owners -- Chicago-based General Growth Properties and Jim Wilson & Associates, of Montgomery -- last fall announced the makeover that is aimed at rejuvenating the 26-year-old, 1.5 million-square-foot shopping mall.
The Hoover City Council then approved up to $25 million in sales tax incentives for the project.
The improvements are expected to take 12 to 15 months to complete.
Other new additions include Jared Jewelry, which is taking over the site of the former Just For Feet store in front of the mall, and Earth Fare, the natural foods grocer that opened earlier this summer in the former CompUSA space next to the mall.
Inside the mall, new tenants include Pandora, Destination Maternity, Rainbow and Torrid.
But the marquee addition is Von Maur, which is taking over the vacant, three-story department store space that was the original home of Macy's. The Davenport, Iowa-based retailer is overseeing its own project, and crews already have started work there. The store is expected to open in the fall of 2013.
Hoar's scope is the rest of the project.
The biggest challenge is affecting the shopping hours as little as possible, the Hendrickses said.
"We've done many renovations of existing centers and have much experience," Mark Hendricks said. "The customer is the No. 1 priority."
Hoar, with offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Houston, Austin, Orlando and Nashville, does work across a variety of sectors, including retail, healthcare and industrial projects.
A recent high-profile local project was the new Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in downtown Birmingham. Hoar served as general contractor in a joint venture with BE&K Building Group.
Hoar has a long relationship with General Growth Properties and Jim Wilson & Associates.
Hoar also is doing another mall project for General Growth Properties in Texas. At The Parks at Arlington, crews are replacing the tile floors and repainting the entire mall.
"That project is under way right now. It started last year and it will be complete before the holiday season," Tim Hendricks said.
Mark Hendricks said Hoar is happy to be involved in a key project in its hometown, where employees do their own shopping.
"We're very glad to be a part of this project," he said. "We're exciting to be renovating something we'll actually be involved with, too, in the community."