Dec. 19, 2002 – More shoppers are setting foot in Royal Dane Mall now that the downtown complex has a new look that is enticing visitors and locals alike off the beaten paths of Main Street and the waterfront, owner James Armour says.
A new entrance, known as The Galleria at Royal Dane Mall, has been added. It features a bar — the only one on Main Street in the shopping district — and a gallery of artisan work.
The entrance to the mall, made up of historic onetime warehouses, leads from Main Street into the alleys and stores. Three shaded outdoor seating areas and a public restroom have been added as part of the renovations.
Armour said when he acquired the buildings in 1975, they were in bad condition. "It really wasn't a pleasant place" back then, he said.
He has been making gradual upgrades to the facilities since then.
The latest renovations began in June, when Armour acquired 27 Main Street, which was then a T-shirt shop and is now the new entrance to the mall. Work was completed in November and Armour has since received an award from the Historic Preservation Commission for the rehabilitation of the building.
"We're trying to have something in downtown Charlotte Amalie that's unique," he said. "We wanted to have unique shops, something you don't find on Main Street."
The newest store, Coki Corner, opened Friday. It sells toys and clothing for children. "We basically picked this place because of everything they've done," store owner Patrick McKay said. "It's one of the most charming alleys."
Armour said he has noticed an increase in shoppers in the mall area who are attracted to the seating areas and the public restroom. He added that before some people would not venture into the alleys. "If you provide things that people want, you're going to be successful," he said.
Abel Fabri, owner of Okidanokh Goldcraft, a mall shop that sells handmade jewelry, likes the new look. "It has allowed many visitors who normally stay on Main Street to come discover the historic sections," he said.
In addition to Coki Corner, the Galleria and the bar, called the 19th Hole, the other shops that have opened since the renovations are MAPes MONDe, Laska Bohemian Wares, Island Flavors, and Aegis Tobacco & Liquor.
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