J.C. Penney to close store on Coast in March

GAUTIER — The J.C. Penney Co. will be leaving Gautier.

It and the Belk Inc. department stores are about the only stores still open in the 563,000-square-foot mall, the rest of which is to be torn down for a $90 million makeover.

Demolition should begin in the next two weeks, Mayor Gordon Gollott told The Mississippi Press.

“It’s imminent,” Gollott said. “It’s going to happen. They were going to start demolition Monday but there were some things they needed to do with utilities and phone lines to make sure those were disrupted in the stores that are still open. They should start in the next couple of weeks.”

He said he was told Friday that the J.C. Penny store will close March 21.

Belk is staying.

The Penney employees will get transfers to other area stores or severance packages, Gollott said.

The mall’s first new building will be a Super Wal-Mart.

“The sales tax the city will receive from Wal-Mart alone will quadruple what we’re getting present-day from the mall,” Gullott told The Sun Herald . “Everything else will just add to it.”

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