Lexington Green forces Heavenly Ham to move as mall changes focus

ssloan@herald-leader.comFebruary 7, 2013 

As part of a recent series of changes at The Mall at Lexington Green, longtime tenant Heavenly Ham closed its store Thursday and will move down the road to Regency Center.

Heavenly Ham owner Louis Hager said the shopping center's management informed him in November he would need to move as the mall reinvents itself as a high-end fashion center anchored by Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

"I've got mixed emotions. Lexington Green has always been good for me," said Hager, who bought the store from its previous owner 22 years ago. "I've enjoyed being here. It's going to be very different for me.

"I was kind of upset about having to relocate after being here for so long and being a local owner."

Hager said his new store at Regency Center, which is slightly larger, won't be ready until the week of March 18, but that's in time for Easter, which is March 31 this year.

"It's nothing like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it's a busy time of year for me," he said.

Heavenly Ham's move comes amid many at Lexington Green, where a redevelopment has been in the works for more than two years and is linked to a consultant's study suggesting that the shopping center focus on fashion tenants.

Last year, Lexington Green's management kicked off the changes by announcing that they had signed fashion retailer Anthropologie, which opened last month in the former Disc Jockey space. Other fashion retailers that have signed on include Ann Taylor Loft and Hot Mama.

"These fashion tenants follow one another," said Scott Davidson, director of operations for mall owner and manager Langley Properties.

He said Anthropologie's sales have been "phenomenal" since opening.

"We're obviously encouraged by their opening with what it's brought," he said.

The fashion strategy has meant changes elsewhere. Like Heavenly Ham, Willis Music was asked to move, Davidson said, and it moved down Nicholasville Road to Tiverton Way.

Other changes at the site include the closing of longtime restaurants Regatta Seafood Grille and Tony Roma's. A new restaurant is expected to open in the former Regatta space by spring.

Hager lamented Thursday that the shopping center is losing some of its mix.

"Everybody really liked the variety of shops that were out here," he said. "They could come here to shop for clothing, home goods, come here to eat, come to the comedy club.

"There was a variety of stuff that was out here for people to do."

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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