A portion of the mall is under construction as it readies for the opening of Aveda Institute of Chapel Hill, Planet Fitness and the luxury movie theater Silverspot Cinema.
Several retailers from Franklin Street’s University Square, which closed in summer 2014, have also moved into the mall — including Fine Feathers and Peacock Alley.
“We’ve been welcomed by the mall community, and we have settled in very nicely,” said Pam Patterson, sales manager of the boutique Fine Feathers, which opened in April.
Compared to its past location in downtown Franklin Street, where traffic was heavy, Patterson said the new location is more accessible to customers.
“I would hope that some of the people — where it may be inconvenient to fight traffic downtown — will come here and give us a walkthrough,” she said.
The construction around Fine Feathers hasn’t blocked the customer flow, Patterson said.
Alfredo Mendes, owner of Alfredo’s Pizza Villa, has had his restaurant in University Mall for 25 years and is excited about the changes.
“From my space, it’s easy to see people coming in and out, and we do see a lot of new customers coming in,” Mendes said.
“It’s been really good compared to five years ago — everybody’s leaving, now everybody’s coming.”
He said the rumors in the past about the departure of many shops may have triggered customers’ curiosities to check out the mall.
“People are very curious, and they want to see how the mall has been changing for the past few years,” he said. “I see a lot of people I don’t see for years coming in, telling me ‘Alfredo! You’re still here!’”
Amid the excitement for new openings, the construction has also negatively affected some tenants.
“Everything is still under construction,” said Josiah Nicholas, assistant manager at Burlington Shoes.
He said he looks forward to the opening of the gym and theater.
“Ever since Roses left, we’ve lost a lot of business,” he said. “Hopefully when those things open, it’ll be worth the loss right now.”