ROANOKE, Va. -

Gone is the fountain that marked the West Court of Valley View Mall.
But, General Manager Louise Dudley says that's a good thing.

Says Dudley, "We are bringing in a brand new floor design which as you can see has really opened up at the core and provided us more space."

Space that will be used for leasing and events.
This site is the most visible of Valley View's $400-thousand improvement project.

But it also includes new technology for merchants on this side of the mall, updated bathrooms and a mural done by a local teacher and his students to represent Valley View's customers.

Dudley says it's a big indicator at just how well the shopping center is doing.

"During 2013 we had several stores open, but we are running at 99% leased. We currently have one vacancy. 2014 will be a more exciting year as far as our new leasing," explains Dudley.

She won't say just yet what those new stores will be, but says the one store which closed - Salon del Sol, left to consolidate with its other Roanoke location.

And, she says the economy, which has been an issues over the last couple of years, seems to be getting better.

"So, the recession, I think the worse is behind us. Our occupancy is very strong, our sales are looking good and its been a good year for Valley View," says Dudley.

The West Court construction project is expected to be complete in October.

Meanwhile, even though it's only September, the holidays are on the minds of the mall merchants.

Dudley says there are a lot of stores that have started the hiring process to get everyone trained and in place for the shopping season starting in November.