GRAND ISLAND, Neb.— Demolition has started at the Grand Island mall as it begins a transformation into the Conestoga Marketplace.

A groundbreaking ceremony on Friday signified the start of a project that pledges to bring a much-needed exciting shopping experience. 

Chief Construction Director Roger Bullington says this was a local endeavor. 

“So many times when you have these big projects, people rely on national contractors or anything like that. They can’t really add any more value than what we did, and the way we we’re able to work locally with the city administration, Chad Nabity, Mayor Steele and all of them have got to be commended for their vision of trying to make this happen,” he said. 

Chief Construction has the services contract and Woodsonia Real Estate is the developer. Partner Mitch Hohlen says this project will breathe new life into Grand Island. 

“If you look back 20 years ago, Conestoga Mall was a vibrant mall. It had all the anchors operating, it was a great retail trade hub. Where Grand Island is positioned in Nebraska, gives it the ability to pull in from neighboring communities. This redevelopment is really going to revitalize what was here 20 years ago in a way that’s modern and that’s built for the next hundred years hopefully,“ he said.

The $220 million project will include a variety of retail, office, and residential spaces, as well as a public plaza with a water feature. 

Businesses will remain open while renovations are going on. The north stores will move to the south while the north part is being renovated and vice versa. It will be a 12-to-18-month process.

So far, the only store that has been confirmed is Target, but more stores will soon be announced, along with restaurants. 

Recently JoAnn Stores filed a lawsuit against the owner and developer over the termination of its lease. President of Woodsonia Real Estate, Drew Snyder says it’s not uncommon. 

“I think there was 37 tenants. 34 of the 37 tenants cooperated, so not uncommon with a project of this size. We had three tenants that did not cooperate as part of the project and so we’re still working to the best of our ability to deal with those tenants and that situation,” he said. 

Woodsonia developers expect the construction and renovation of the mall will take about three years. If everything goes to plan, Target will open in the second quarter of 2026.