During the past several years, most of the improvements to the North Riverside Park Mall have been focused on the interior of the 41-year-old shopping center. But later this year and probably in 2017 there will be a couple of very noticeable additions outside of the building.

By the end of summer, the mall hopes to have a new 23-foot tall, 17-foot wide monument sign erected at the corner of 25th Street and Harlem Avenue, replacing the sign that’s there now.

The new sign ought to be more visible to motorists on Harlem Avenue, because it will incorporate a color video reader board measuring 8-by-17 feet. For comparison purposes, the video billboard at First Avenue and Cermak Road in North Riverside is 10-by-20 feet.

According to Lidia Darkova, marketing director for the North Riverside Park Mall, officials are working with the owners of the North Riverside Park Plaza to finalize the details for the new sign, which stands at the unofficial east entrance to the mall.

At one time, the mall also owned the strip shopping center located to the east of the mall proper. That property is now owned by a company connected to Tony’s Finer Foods, which anchors the strip mall.

A similarly sized monument sign incorporating a video reader board is also being planned for the mall’s main north entrance on Cermak Road. According to Darkova, the mall’s management is in talks with the anchor stores — Sears, J.C. Penney and Carson Pirie Scott — to get the green light for the new Cermak Road sign.

The two monument signs are part of a larger visual overhaul of outdoor mall signage, including improving signage at entrances to the mall itself. While each mall entrance door has a numerical sign, those numbers will be made much more visible.

Darkova said the larger numbers are to provide visitors better information for where they’re headed inside the mall.

“We get phone calls all the time from people asking what entrance is near a store they want to visit,” Darkova said. “I think [the larger numbers] have a directional purpose.”

The existing exterior signage at North Riverside Park Mall dates from 2001, according to Darkova.

 More interior improvements are scheduled at the mall as well in 2016 and 2017, said Darkova, including new common area furniture, carpeting and updated glass railings.

The mall continues to see interest from existing tenants to either relocate/enlarge or rehab their spaces. Old Navy is poised to remodel its location to create a new prototype store. Victoria’s Secret and Express will also be unveiling new prototype stores at the mall in 2017, according to Darkova.

A new store, Lovesick, which focuses on trendy plus-size fashion for women, opened two weeks ago.

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