Building for a big return: Construction continues at Thompson Square

Drew Butler
Thompson Square lit up for night. The colors can be changed based on season.

Though retail shopping is currently limited to essential purchases, online ordering and delivery and area restaurants continue to serve take-out meals only, construction continues unabated at Thompson Square. Owner James Thompson said they are currently about 60% complete and new sections are getting closer to completion every day.

Apart from the already completed massive facelift outside Potrillos and along the east side of the facility, one of the most noticeable changes is the lighting at night.

“We’ve upgraded all the lighting with LEDs,” Thompson said. “On all of the columns we have what’s called up/down lighting. We can change the color of the lights based on the season or whatever fits the current mood. Right now we have a light blue that’s our favorite that we use most of the time, but we did green for St. Patrick’s Day and red on Valentines Day. So we can make adjustments there as we need to.”

Landscaping has been installed in front of the building, and they have plans to install landscaping throughout the parking lot and around the sign on Broadway. However Thompson said their main focus at the moment is finishing renovations for the tenants.

“It’s been about all we can do to get the renovations complete for our tenants,” Thompson said. “It’s just been one deadline after another — which we love! We are so proud of our tenants, and we promised them a deadline and try to keep those in place.”

They are currently wrapping up work on the old 1-800 Flowers building.

“Victory Life Church has taken a large portion of the old 1-800 Flowers building,” Thompson said. “We are just getting the entrance completed and just lack a few details until it’s finished.”

The rest of the building is being utilized by the daycare The Learning Center which officially opened on Monday.

James said he’s most often asked about what’s going to be done to the old Orscheln building. The current plan is to break it up into nine different spaces, and do a renovation along the exterior to match the rest of the facility.

“It will be a lot like what we did with Ray Ward,” Thompson said. “It used to be a mechanic shop and it was totally transformed into a jewelry store. That’s what’s going to happen up here in the front, too. All of the big overhead doors will be gone, and it will be all storefronts. That’s going to really beautify the whole area.”

He said they are waiting on redoing the former Walls building until they have a large tenant in place. He said there were several interested parties prior to the pandemic, but interest has cooled off for the time being.

“I think it’s really important that we support our local businesses — not only in Thompson Square but all over town,” Thompson said. “Sometimes we’re quick to get online when we should be buying local, especially during this time.”