River Ridge Mall is planning a multi-million-dollar redevelopment, with work scheduled to begin by the end of this month. The initial phase involves a total remodel of the mall’s center court — it will include an amphitheater and a more modern look. The rest of River Ridge will see remodeling work over the next two years.

Reporter Andre Whitehead spoke with mall Spokesperson Katie Farris, who described what to expect during that first phase of work:

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NEWS RELEASE: A planned redevelopment of Lynchburg’s River Ridge Mall is scheduled to begin this summer. The plans for River Ridge include a multi-million-dollar remodel with a state-of-the-art renovation of the interior of the property beginning with the center court area. This area currently includes national retailers such as Belk, American Eagle Outfitters, New York & Company, Finish Line and soon-to-open SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium. All stores will remain open during the remodel.

“This phase of the development is going to provide exciting amenities and aesthetic updates to center court,” said Louise Dudley, general manager of River Ridge. “Guests will have access to amenities including an amphitheater, a kiosk for food and beverages, cell phone charging stations, and much more.” Aesthetic upgrades will include new flooring, new soft seating, greenery and fire and water features to contribute to its rural-modern architectural design in the newly remodeled “Great Space” in center court.

Construction on the center court area is tentatively scheduled to begin in late June and anticipated to be completed by mid-November 2019. Construction for the remainder of the interior will continue after the holidays in early 2020. “We plan to have the first phase of development completed for the opening of the holiday shopping season,” Dudley said.

“We are confident that the Lynchburg community is going to welcome and embrace the improvements designed for this property,” said Craig Pettitt, vice president of retail real estate at Liberty University. “This is just the first phase of a planned two-year redevelopment to, once again, make River Ridge a vibrant, first-class destination for shoppers from central Virginia and beyond.”

Future plans for the center include demolition of the two previous department store buildings, which will be replaced by a mix of national, regional and local retailers, entertainment uses and restaurants. Plans for the exterior renovation of the property are currently being finalized.