Several stores are expanding at West Acres mall.

The Halberstadt’s menswear store in the JCPenney wing recently completed a remodeling and expansion that brings it to 12,000 square feet, “which is very large for that type of store,” said Alissa Adams, senior vice president of marketing and business development.

The Stride Rite shoe store will nearly double in size in another month, adding clothing, backpacks and baby accessories in the extra space, Adams said Wednesday, July 3.

The Nails Pro nail salon in the Best Buy wing will also start construction soon on an expansion into part of the space that used to hold Payless shoe store.

And a CJBanks store reopened June 28 next to the Christopher & Banks store in the JCPenney wing.

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Work continues on the CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi restaurant in the District at West Acres, pictured Thursday, July 4, 2019. The restaurant is projected to open late this summer, a mall official said. Helmut Schmidt / The Forum
Work continues on the CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi restaurant in the District at West Acres, pictured Thursday, July 4, 2019. The restaurant is projected to open late this summer, a mall official said. Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

Work continues on the CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi. The 7,000-square-foot fine-casual dining restaurant is expected to open late this summer as part of The District at West Acres.

Leasing progress continues with the rest of the District, but “there’s nothing to announce, quite yet,” Adams said, while remodeling of the interior court in front of Best Buy and CRAVE will begin soon and completed this fall.

Meanwhile, Aptitude - The Art’s Partnerships’ creative studio space for artists - is expected to open late this summer in part of the space once occupied by Sears. Aptitude will contain 19 artist studios and a kiln room.

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Construction of the Foss Swim School is underway in the former Best Buy box, just south of the main mall, Adams said. The Minneapolis-based swim school is expected to open in October, using about a fourth of the building. Adams said negotiations are underway with a handful of retailers for the remainder of that building. She expects that space to be full sometime in 2020.

At Home, a big-box chain specializing in home decor products, is expected to fill the space that once held former anchor Herberger’s on the west side of the mall.

An At Home representative confirmed with The Forum earlier this year that the store is planned to open this fall. City of Fargo records show a $3.4 million building permit was issued for At Home.

Adams said West Acres is still attractive to retailers. The mall’s leasing team attended a recent RECON real estate and leasing convention in Las Vegas and had good meetings with more than 20 retailers, including representatives from Anthropologie, Athleta and Aerie.

With stores expanding and those that want to come in “we’re seeing more demand than space available for all of those stores,” Adams said.

West Acres also has strong anchors in Macy’s and JCPenney.

“We feel good about our other anchors,” Adams said. “JCPenney just signed an extension, so they’re in a good space. And we’ve also recently heard from Macy’s that they feel really good about their store at West Acres as well.”

That said, the retail sector remains highly competitive.

“Weak retail is going away,” Adams said. “There are stores that do have issues. There are malls that do have issues. And those will go away. (But) retail is shrinking. It’s not disappearing. Strong, healthy retail will survive in the end. We equate it to what you see with a bush. You have to prune it back in order for it to grow, and that’s what’s happening with retail right now.”

The 30,000-square-foot District at West Acres was touted last fall as being a cluster of restaurants and “experiences.”

Adams said work is ongoing to find “new to market, first to the market” restaurants, including those with an entertainment component.