Woodfield Mall starts construction for new Dining Pavilion
Woodfield shoppers know all too well the fear of being hungry in a mall infamous for lacking variety in food options and having restaurants spread across the mall. Luckily, this will no longer be a problem.
During the past few years, you may have seen a lot of new additions to the Woodfield Mall. A new layout, new stores, and now within the next year, the shopping center will have a new food court. The construction of the food court began during June, and Woodfield is anticipating the Dining Pavilion to finish construction towards the end of the summer of 2018.
To make room for the Dining Pavilion, the Development Department relocated a couple of stores such as A’Gaci and FYE, based on expiring contracts and available spaces. Woodfield Mall General Manager Kurt Webb said that this major construction and renovation project is a “significant investment.”
The Dining Pavilion will have space for 12 fast-casual restaurants and will seat about 820 people. The restaurants will be a mixture of locally owned and national chain restaurants. Current eateries such as McDonald’s, Subway, and Cinnabon will all remain in their current locations.
The construction of a food court is major news for avid-Woodfield shoppers, who often criticize the present, scattered and small selection of places to eat. Webb said, “Maybe a mom has two children, and one child wants a pizza and the other one wants a hamburger. We have that offering within the mall, but it’s difficult for a mom to go to one end of the mall and to the other end to make both kids happy.”
By consolidating all of the restaurants in one area, customers will be able to find it easier to choose from a variety of food without having to walk across the mall. Webb said that the Dining Pavilion would “also provide an atmosphere where people can kind of gather, hang out, and spend more time.”
Even many Conant students have felt that this dining pavilion is long overdue for Woodfield Mall. Grace Park, ‘19, said, “I’ve been wanting [the mall] to add a food court for a long time because it’s just more convenient to have all your food options in one area.”
The dining pavilion will increase foot traffic, but the primary goal is to enhance the shopping experience. Webb said, “We are going to continue to support the kind of demographic that we are already serving so we can provide a better, more convenient experience for them.”
Paralleling the goals of the mall management, some Conant students feel that the food court will improve their time spent at the mall. Park said, “I don’t think it’ll make me go to the mall more, but it would make my experience at the mall better.”
The food court would also enhance the experience of mall employees. “It’s totally more convenient to go get food at the mall where I work instead of driving home or packing a lunch,” said Maddy Morris, ‘19.
This new addition to the mall, however, does not seem to excite off-campus Conant students as much. Nitin Subramanian, ‘18, said, “There are more convenient options nearby. So I don’t know if I’d go to the trouble of going to Woodfield, which is sort of far, and then try to find parking, eat in a crowded place, and get back [to school] in 50 minutes.”
This is the second major project the mall has had in the last few years. In 2015, Woodfield Mall went through a series of renovations that restructured the layout of the shopping center. Webb said that the dining pavilion is “the next step within that [project] and at that point, we will have touched everything on the inside of the mall, so there are no other further major projects planned at this time.”