Louise Paypach and her friend Anna Mae Sobieski are frequent customers at the Rotterdam Square Mall.
The two senior citizens like walking the halls of the mall for exercise and often search for sales at its several departments stores.
But after a few hours of shopping, both Paypach and Sobieski like to take a break.
Now, with the mall's recent construction of a new 675-square-foot, soft-seated lounge in its food court, both Paypach and Sobieski can rest on comfortable couches and lush armchairs.
This should have happened a long time ago, said Paypach during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new lounge on Thursday, June 19. "It's a great place to rest and it should help bring people down here."
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based Macerich Co., which purchased the mall in 2005 from Wilmorite Properties, hopes Paypach is right.
Tonya Harman, Rotterdam Square's senior manager of property management, said the updated lounge is both an effort by the mall to be more community friendly and to change with the times. She noted that the carpeted lounge also features free Wi-Fi access that could be used for local business meetings or for shoppers who carry their laptops in tow.
In order to create the lounge, the mall had to demolish a 1,930-square-foot island that housed four retailers.
Harman said all four retailers have been moved to storefronts or kiosks in the mall.
In addition to the creation of a public seating area, the project has opened 1,220 square feet of additional space that mall officials said could be used as additional kiosk space during holiday shopping months.
Last year, Macerich also upgraded the mall's bathrooms. According to Harman, more projects are in the pipeline, including a proposed community center, which could be built where the carousel stood before it was sold last year.