Construction of a private road at Jefferson Pointe will begin next week, aimed at making the open-air mall more shopper-friendly.
A multimillion-dollar project is expected to wrap up by Nov. 16. Officials declined to provide an exact figure. Besides the new road, which will run past Rave Cinemas, feed into the retail area and spill into the theaters parking lot, a revamped food court featuring Tucanos Brazilian Grill is set to open in 2013. A 6,500-square-foot building to be built next to Rave Cinemas has no timeline as yet.
To help make room for the road, three storefronts, including Portrait Innovations, will be relocated, as The Journal Gazette reported first online Monday. Other changes include 17 additional parking spaces and room for drop-offs near Rave Cinemas.
Jefferson Pointe has about a 90 percent occupancy rate with more than 70 stores and restaurants. The food court will receive a major overhaul, and Tucanos Brazilian Grill will occupy about half of the roughly 15,000-square-foot restaurant center.
Patrons will enter Tucanos through a separate entrance. Fort Wayne will be home to the sixth Tucanos in the nation.
We plan on adding other (eateries) as well, but nothing that we can announce at this time, said Katrina Newman, spokeswoman for the mall. Well have barricades put up for safety during the construction.
The addition of Tucanos Brazilian Grill will provide a needed boost to the food court, which – since last years exit of Panda Express – has been mostly vacant. With an Enzo Pizza outlet and youth arcade, the area has been a rest spot for shoppers and their kids. Newman said Tucanos will make the food court a destination.
Built in 2001, the $75 million shopping center boasts a Mediterranean theme. The addition of a new road may reduce congestion, but a much-discussed traffic light near Apple Glen Boulevard is not part of the plan, said Mike Brooks, general manager at Jefferson Pointe. Despite efforts to move forward, getting all those involved at the table has proved difficult, he said.
For now, other changes include the relocation of the food court restrooms and a fire pit that sits in front of Rave Cinemas. Rave general manager Patrick Kolbe said he is pleased about the changes.
It will be good for everybody but especially for customers, because it will be more convenient for them, he said.