NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The MacArthur Center has become more than just a shopping destination.
The mall recently turned old retail space into a community center, complete with a library, workout studio and arts and crafts for the kids.
The area is called Live 360.
“Yes we are a shopping mall but we wanted to broaden and extend our brand and reach out into the community a little more,” said Karen Husselbee, MacArthur Center Marketing Director.
Husselbee said rather than let an empty store just sit there they decided to think outside the box.
“Something in addition to shopping that you find fulfilling,” said Husselbee. “We have different community organizations that come in here and offer different classes and programs.”
The space includes a library, with the books donated by the Norfolk Public Library. It also includes a student art gallery courtesy of Norfolk Public Schools. While the YMCA offers a Mixfit class in the workout studio.
The MacArthur Center also supplies lots of art supplies for the kids including a 30-foot chalk board.
“A lot of malls don’t always have things for the older age brackets but might have things for the toddlers and the infants but to have the books for the older kids to read and to have the chalk board and art pieces is great,” said mother Nicole Bolding.
She said her kids are now begging her to go to the mall and that’s a first.
“I tell my friends like, ‘yea I get to go to the mall,’” said 10-year-old Mya.
The YMCA says it’s also a big win for them because it introduces new people to their classes.
“It gave us a chance to bring health and wellbeing and fitness outside the four walls of the Y,” said Amelia Baker with the YMCA.
The MacArthur Center says with malls closing throughout the country they believe they have found a recipe for growth.
“And give people who normally wouldn’t come to the mall a reason to come to the mall,” said Husselbee.
For more information on all the events taking place at Live 360 got to https://www.shopmacarthur.com.