Rhode Island Mall to welcome new additions

There will soon be new additions at the Rhode Island Mall in Warwick.

The building that once housed the Sears Auto Center will be converted into two restaurants, as well as a retail space.

One of the restaurants is a BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse.

It’s not part of the wholesale club, but popular on the west coast, and will be one of its first locations in New England.

But several shoppers say there are already plenty of restaurants near the Rhode Island Mall and think adding a few more isn't a great idea.

“The national chains -- they hold up, but you see them come and go, you know?” Michael Poole said. “It seems like in Rhode Island people are more into the family-style restaurants.”

Plans are also in the works for Dick's Sporting Goods to move into the mall sometime in 2017, as the store will be re-locating from Bald Hill Road.

Parts of the mall look like a ghost town these days -- a far cry from the mall's glory days as the Midland Mall when it was a busy gathering spot for shoppers across the region.

While multiple anchor stores keep the property alive, it’s nothing like what shoppers remember.

“It was very active always. Busy,” Joanne Cournoyer said. “My mom worked when it was G Fox and then Filene's.”

But the good old days might not be done yet.

Plenty of ideas have been tossed out about what should become of the mall since it closed in 2011.

There was talk of turning it into an outlet mall, and then came the idea of adding a handful of big box stores.

The city says it's currently talking about bringing some more big-box stores to the mall, but nothing is official yet.

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