COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Changes are coming to the west side of Columbus as the former Westland Mall is set to be demolished.
The site has been deteriorating for some time, as a Sears location was the last store open at Westland before closing in 2017.
“It’s exciting to know there’s going to be revamp, it’s dead space now, it’s a bad look for the area,” said Chip Tate.
Tate grew up in Fayette County but remembers going to the mall as a child. He’s lived in Franklin Township for 20 years and said one of his best memories is from Westland.
“My last memory of this place was the best day of my life because this is where I bought my wife’s wedding ring and engagement ring,” he said.
Westland opened in 1969. Now, the property is marked with big potholes in the parking lot, burnt out lights and signs falling off the side of the building. John Fleshman, a Franklin Township trustee, said he’s been trying to improve the area for 10 years.
“It’s really become an eyesore,” he said. “One of the biggest things I always hear from residents is John, what are you going to do with the mall, what’s going to happen, and I’m happy to say we now are looking at the demolition of Westland Mall.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced more than $20 million dollars for five revitalization projects in Franklin County, including the demolition of the former mall. Developers are planning a mixed-use project for the site, according to the state.
“This area did not go away overnight, it’s not going to come back overnight but we are seeing new growth,” said Fleshman.
Both Tate and Fleshman said the former mall being torn down will be bittersweet. They also call it a chance to create new memories.
“This is one of the biggest things on my plate that I wanted to see torn down and something else come in here, same as everybody in this area. It’s going to make a huge difference,” said Fleshman.
Fleshman said the demolition is projected to start this spring.