$6 million Belk expansion under way at Rock Hill Galleria

$6M renovation expected to be done by September

dworthington@heraldonline.comJanuary 24, 2013 

— Deb Niekamp, manager of the Belk store at the Rock Hill Galleria, has a simple message for her customers: “Yes, we’re open.”

It doesn’t look that way from the exterior.

Construction crews have ripped off the front of the store. Inside they have constructed a temporary wall, 15 feet from the existing wall.

The loss of space means Belk will move its home and youth departments to temporary space in the mall last used by Goody’s Department Store, near the mall’s play area for children.

Despite the difficulties, Niekamp is excited.

“The store is getting a fresh look, and it’s well deserved,” she said Wednesday.

Belk is investing about $6 million to renovate and expand the store.

Construction started Jan. 7. The 20,000-foot addition is expected to be finished by May.

The complete renovation of the store should be finished by September, Niekamp said. With the expansion the store may hire as many as 20 people, she said.

It is the second major renovation at the mall. In September 2012, J.C. Penney completed an expansion that doubled its sales space, allowing it to add new merchandise and a Sephora cosmetics store.

Cypress Equities, owner of the mall, is looking at making other improvements.

EMJ Construction is building the 20,000-square-foot addition. Construction has closed the store’s former two main exterior entrances. A small exterior entrance remains near the entrance to the mall’s food court.

The additional space will expand Belk’s sales space to about 110,000 square feet.

Niekamp said additional space will allow the store to add “more upscale brands” and vendors. Among the additional brands are Ralph Lauren for women, Polo for men and Coach handbags.

“We’ve had some calls asking if we are going out of business,” Niekamp said. “Absolutely no. We’re thrilled to have the expansion.”

Don Worthington 803-329-4066

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