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Waterford - A ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning at the Crystal Mall kicked off a weekend celebration noting the completion of $10 million in renovations that includes a facelift of the food court, redesign of the entrances, a new children's play area and a mother's nursing room.
It was the first major overhaul of the mall since 1996, according to marketing manager Chris Bastien. The mall, owned by Simon Property Group, opened in 1984. "It really has transformed the mall," Bastien said.
The yearlong renovation, undertaken largely at night while the 775,000-square-foot mall remained open during normal hours, also involved redesign of common areas to include new tiles and mahogany accents, an overhaul of the food court restrooms, soft seating for customer comfort, a new guest services booth, as well as updated lighting and landscaping touches.
"It definitely has a more upscale feel to it," Bastien said. "We want to make the mall as much of a destination as possible."
Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of New Haven was general contractor for the project, and the architectural work was performed by Cube3 Studio of Lawrence, Mass.
Ronald Hanson, a senior vice president for Simon Property Group, said during the ribbon cutting that the renovation outcome "exceeds the vision we had" thanks to the work of all involved.
"It looks great," said First Selectman Daniel Steward.
The mall has added four tenants since the first of the year. The stores are a Best Buy Mobile featuring smartphones and accessories, Charley's Grilled Subs in the Food Court, Yellow Bird Cupcakes and the beauty boutique Brow Art 23.
The celebration will include freeze modeling of spring and summer fashions, children's activities, food sampling, prize giveaways and other promotions. Boxer Vinny Paz will make an appearance Sunday. The mall is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Facepainting, Play Area
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Magician
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Freeze models, various retailers
1-5 p.m.: Balloon artist, Play Area
1:30-2:30 p.m.: Instant win games, Old Navy Court
2-2:30 p.m.: Fashion show, Old Navy Court
4-6 p.m.: Freeze models, various retailers
noon-2 p.m.: Vinny Paz, Old Navy Court
noon-3 p.m.: Facepainting, Play Area
noon-5 p.m.: Balloon artist
noon-4 p.m.: Freeze models, Various retailers
noon-5 p.m.: Prize an Hour, Simon Guest Services
2-4 p.m.: Food sampling, Food Court
(Vinny Paz Requires ticket from K&M All Star Sports)