The three Hills shopping plazas on South Atherton Street have seen some big changes in recent months and more are expected.
A newly constructed McDonald's restaurant, a renovated Taco Bell and Wine & Spirits store, a new fitness center, and a recently signed lease with Illuminated Vapes, an e-cigarette company, are all signs of development at the shopping center, says Anthony Vita, president of Vita & Vita Realty Corp.
Last year, Hills Plaza South also underwent a facelift to match the design of Weis Markets.
Additionally, Vita says his company is in negotiations with a retailer to fill the anchor store in the Hills Plaza. Prior retailers filling the anchor spot, including Hills and Ames, went bankrupt.
"We expect to get a first line retailer in there. ... We passed up on second level retailers, we're not looking for that," Vita says. "It's a very good shopping center. It does really well. It has always done really well."
The 42-year-old shopping center includes Hills Plaza, Short Hills Plaza (located to the rear of the main Hills Plaza), and South Hills Plaza. It offers about 320,000 square feet of retail space. Vita says only two stores are vacant, aside from the Hills Plaza anchor spot. The two smaller vacant stores will be occupied in the fall, temporarily, for a Halloween shop and student leasing office.
"We're very selective on who we put in our project," says Vita.
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