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Southgate Mall owner plans redesign
The new owner of Southgate Mall announced plans Wednesday to revitalize and redevelop the interior portion of the mall to better meet the needs of today's retailers.
Construction could start as soon as this summer.
While pursuing the purchase over the past several months, the property owner has been meeting with city of Yuma staff to discuss alternative development scenarios and layouts. The redevelopment is planned to include substantial demolition and reconfiguration of many of the buildings.
The center part where the small shop spaces are located will be demolished, confirmed Gordon Keig, senior vice president of Kornwasser Shopping Center Properties, which with CCA Acquisition Company formed Southgate Mall LLC to purchase the aging shopping center. The sale closed Dec. 28.
Keig said the mall, built in the early 1970s, is “functionally obsolete” as it now stands. “The cost to operate the mall far exceeds the rent received.”
There's a possibility the former Dillard's store space also will be demolished, Keig said, but that hasn't been decided yet. “It's a difficult building to renovate for another retail use based on retailers' need for that size.”
Burlington Coat Factory, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Sears and Goodwill are expected to remain in place.
Keig said the mall's redevelopment plan has a lot of options. “We're pursuing all avenues until all the pieces fall into place.”
His hope, though, is to be ready to start construction by summer. “We will be reconstructing new buildings with a different design to be more functional and meet the requirements of today's retailers.”
Kornwasser is planning to close down the interior mall no later than March.
Affected tenants have been notified that they will need to vacate and have been provided with relocation packages that include information on viable retail spaces available throughout the community, Keig said.
Arizona Athletic Club will be allowed to remain a little longer as it has a separate entrance and isn't dependent on access through the mall. Keig also noted that the business has expressed an interest in locating in the redeveloped center and “there may be some scenarios that would accommodate that type of use.”
“Our first order of business was to analyze the feasibility of the property and to complete the acquisition,” Keig said. “There are a number of potential large anchor tenants that have expressed interest in the property, and the new tenant interest is based on the concept of demolishing the interior mall and reconfiguring the shopping center.”
The redeveloped property is expected to be a catalyst for further commercial development and revitalization of the city's south side in the area of the Big Curve, said City Administrator Greg Wilkinson.
“This has been needed for a long time,” he said. “I really look forward to moving forward and working with Gordon and Kornwasser. This will be really good for the community.”
Kornwasser, through numerous entities, has developed over 22 million square feet of shopping centers nationwide, including other retail properties in Yuma.