Frenchtown Square Mall celebrated its grand reopening Saturday, Nov. 14, with a special guest from the Twilight movies.
After months of renovations, the mall celebrated its reopening with Peter Facinelli, the actor who plays Dr. Carlisle Cullen.
New Moon, the sequel to the popular movie Twilight, opens Nov. 20. Since the popularity of New Moon is so high, the mall made it possible for Facinelli come to the reopening.
Facinelli makes public appearances to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a charity that raises money for childhood cancer research.
Fans were able to meet Facinelli, and get an autograph for $25 or a picture with him for $40. A large amount of the sales from autographs and pictures went to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
The line started early Saturday morning inside the mall near Aeropostale and stretched throughout the mall, out a side door and down past Target for most of the day.
MCCC student Rachael Nicholson waited outside the mall with her mom and friends for an hour before the mall opened at 10 a.m. They waited in the slow moving line, but got a free movie ticket since they were among the first 100 people in line.
Facinelli was supposed to come out at 12 p.m., but came out a half hour later. He greeted the crowd and talked a little about the charity.
When Facinelli took his jacket off, he pretended to take off his shirt; the crowd went wild.
Nicholson and her mom each got an autograph from Facinelli and took a picture together with him. They took their picture with him at about 1:30, but then had to stand in another line to pick it up, because there were troubles with the printer.
“I was happy to see Peter, but it seemed like it went by too quickly,” said Nicholson, even though she was there for six hours.
MCCC student Kayla Howard was able to attend the VIP event with Peter Facinelli before he made his public appearance.
“Meeting Peter Facinelli was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m happy I was able to experience,” said Howard.
Facinelli signed one of Howard’s Twilight books and a picture of himself.
“I think it was a really great thing for the Mall of Monroe to be able to get him to come,” said Howard.
The multi-million dollar renovations began in April this year with demolition of the ceiling. Contractors worked at night while the mall was closed to install new ceilings with skylights.
In addition, the mall has new floors, entrances, soft seating, brighter parking lot lights, new signs and a redesigned food court. Also, a customer service center and security desk are openly visible near the Phoenix Theater.
Soon a new children’s soft play area will be installed.
It was revealed at the reopening that the mall has a new name; it will now be called the Mall of Monroe.
Corporate spokesman for the mall, Joe Bell, said the renovations are just one part of a new experience they hope to create for customers. Currently, they are working to have more stores join the mall.
“Re-merchandising the mall is a slow, challenging process, but we’re dedicated to pursuing it,” said Bell.
The celebration began at 11 a.m. with a news conference; several important Monroe representatives attended. Among some of the attendees were Congressman John Dingle, Frenchtown Township Supervisor James McDevitt, and the mayor of Monroe Mark Worrell.
Speeches were made encouraging Monroe citizens to shop at the Mall of Monroe instead of traveling to Ann Arbor or Toledo. The renovations and soon to come new retailers are all ways to attract customers to Monroe.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held, and after that a dj played music for Twilight fans waiting for Peter Facinelli to arrive.
Free food was available to any customer shopping at the mall for the reopening. There were many tables set up that contained chicken tenders, vegetables, deep fried cheese raviolis, pop, a cake shaped like the mall and a cookie cake from Mrs. Fields.
Performances by the bands the Unknown Legends, Floral City Harmonizers and the Sweet Adeline’s also took place.