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Columbiana Centre’s new manager planning changes

krupon @thestate.com (803) 771-8308May 29, 2014 

Columbiana Centre has a new general manager, and some big plans for the coming year.

Andrew Peach, 31, started earlier this month at the bustling Harbison Boulevard mall, and will lead it through some cosmetic changes and an influx of several new retailers.

Women’s clothing store Altar’d State will open in the mall this fall, Peach said. The Knoxville, Tenn.,-based boutique bills itself as a growing Christian store that started out in 2009 with one shop and has grown to about 30 Southeastern outlets, according to its website. The retailer also plans to open in Greenville’s Haywood Mall.

Peach said he also is close to a deal with a sit-down restaurant to take a portion of the former Sears store. The struggling retailer closed its Columbiana store in March, and part of its space will become a Belk’s standalone men’s apparel-and-shoe store.

Peach also said he is in talks to bring another sit-down restaurant to the former Spinnaker’s space, which has been closed for the better part of a decade.

Consumers have long said a sit-down restaurant was the biggest thing the mall was lacking.

The restaurant also would be a boon to other retailers in the mall, Peach said. “If you can bring (customers) in to eat, they’ll shop.”

In addition, the mall will get a refresh next year, Peach said. The first priority is replacing the 24-year-old mall’s dated floor tile. It also will be painted, get a new roof and patches will be made in certain parts of the parking lot. Peach also hopes to replace the mall’s exterior doors, and he said he would like to add more signs directing shoppers around the mall and enhance the landscaping.

Peach said the mall will be about 98 percent occupied with the new tenants that are coming in.

“This is a real easy center to backfill,” he said, adding new tenants are eager to move in when a store closes.

Village Pizza, for example, is moving in to replace the shuttered Sbarro. And T-Mobile will open a store in the former Marks & Morgan Jewelers spot.

Peach has been with General Growth Properties for about four years, and he has experience leading properties through renovations. He spearheaded a $90 million interior overhaul of a shopping center in New Orleans that had been wrecked during Hurricane Katrina.

Peach also has worked in Chicago and Dallas, but the Charlotte native and Texas State University graduate said Columbia feels like a good fit for him and his wife.

“We want to stay here for a long time,” he said.

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