Sears Auto Center Demolished at Edgewater Mall
By Keith Burton GCN 3/27/07
Since Hurricane Katrina hit August 29, 2005, Biloxi's largest shopping complex, Edgewater Mall, has been working its way back from devastation. Today, the destroyed Sears Auto Center building, that stood on the beachfront of the mall's property was torn down by demolition crews.
"We are trying to get the mall looking like a hurricane hadn't hit here," said Terry Powell, the mall's manager.
Just last week, the former O'Charlie's Restaurant sign and its slab were removed. Powell says that the mall does not plan to turn the areas into expanded parking and eventually new businesses may be located on the sites, but for now, the areas will be landscaped.
Powell said that Sears has no plans at this time to replace the auto center, though another location may be found for an auto center that is off the front beach area. "The beachfront site may not be the best location for a tire center," Powell said.
There is a lot of activity at the mall with new stores coming, but the main store that faces the beach highway, Dillard's, will take at least another year to open. Powell told GCN that contractors are expected to be on site within a couple of weeks to begin work to rebuild Dillard's and there are major changes coming that will reshape the south appearance of the mall. Powell said he anticipates a nearly 325 day construction cycle.
Powell says the Dillard's reconstruction will involve removing the area of the mall that was added when Gayfer's made its expansion years ago. What that means, according to Powell, is that the front section of where Dillard's is located will be removed and the store will expand to the west, which will give the Mall's main entrance a substantially changed new look.
Inside the mall, work crews are replacing the tile with superior materials such as imported marble, which will move the feel of the huge complex more upscale.
Edgewater Mall, as well as all the beachfront hotels, shopping centers and businesses, was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. But work to get Biloxi's main shopping center back will take the complex to a whole new future. Currently, there are three anchor stores, including Belk, JC Penney and Sears, plus more than 100 specialty stores, a food court and other restaurants open at shopping complex. (Photo Right-Sears Auto Center in Feb.)
Edgewater Mall first opened in 1963 and has easily survived many hurricanes, even Camille in 1969. Katrina's unusually high storm surge flooded a portion of the mall and damaged its southern-most sections, which included Dillard's.