COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Eastland Mall is permanently shutting its doors by the end of the year, a city official confirmed Thursday to NBC4.
The 54-year-old Columbus mall at 2740 S. Hamilton Rd. is closing after a court order marked Eastland as a public nuisance in June, citing outstanding health and safety code violations. Mall representatives told the office of Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein that they plan to close by the end of the year, which would be Saturday at the latest.
“I will say I think the most important thing here is that Eastland was an anchor for the east side of Columbus for decades,” Klein said. “What we have to look forward to though is the opportunity of the future.”
The Chair of the Mideast Area Commission, Quay Barnes, said Eastland started to decline when Easton Town Center opened.
“The condition of the mall, and the inside and outside of the mall, it was not healthy, it was not safe and, at some point, you have to say enough is enough,” Barnes said.
It has been a 10-year process to close the mall, Barnes said. She said it took people like Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Klein visiting the property to make progress.
“It’s been plagued with health and safety violations,” she said. “We finally had to go to court and not only bring a lawsuit but eventually ask for a contempt order where fines were running daily in order to get the owners to fix it up.”
City officials filed a case in Franklin County Municipal Court against Eastland Mall Holdings, LLC, in April 2021, calling the property owners out for violations including inadequate lighting, potholes, a sinkhole developing in the parking lot and structural issues. The court order gave Eastland’s owners a deadline of July 13 to fix all code violations.
“Immediate action must be taken to bring the property into compliance, and that begins with property owners stepping up to make improvements,” Klein said.
The court held a contempt hearing in September to see if the owners had followed orders to clean up the property, and found they did not, handing the mall owners a $3,500 fine for failing to meet the deadline. Klein said in September if the owners did not address the flagged health and safety violations, the court will tack on an additional $250 fine daily.
Columbus Police have also been keeping watch on the property. In 2022, they received 71 calls for service to the mall — six for a person with a gun, four shots fired, seven for robberies and burglaries and 17 disturbances.
As the city’s attorney has fought with the owners, the City of Columbus announced in November 2021 that it planned to turn 78 acres of land near Eastland Mall into a new park, and had acquired the acreage for about $1.5 million. Barnes said she and the commission have been brainstorming ideas of what they would like to see at Eastland for years.
“Things like a training facility, a gym or recreation center, we would like to have more businesses, some retail,” she said. “Sort of a mixed-use with apartment complexes. We would like to kind of make it a place for young professionals.”
Barnes said she is in the process of building a residential commission to get the community’s input on what they would like to see at Eastland in the future.
Take a virtual tour from 2017 of the Eastland Mall through Google Maps below: