COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Franklin County Department of Economic Development and Planning is hosting a meeting Monday evening to get public input on the redevelopment of the Westland area including the site of the long-vacant Westland Mall. The 6 p.m. meeting will be held in the Community Room of Haydocy Buick at 3895 West Broad St.
Earlier this month, mall owner Plaza Properties purchased three parcels from Sears for $3.15 million giving Plaza Properties complete control of the 90-acre site. Prior to the sale, Sears held veto power to any redevelopment on the mall property through a Reciprocal Easement Agreement.
Jim Schimmer, Director of the county Economic Development and Planning Department says the mall site in a linchpin to the Westland area. “Yes, we have a $400 million casino out there but it’s really sort of a stranded asset,” Schimmer said. “The idea of being able to use it now to build around is something that I think is going to help everybody.”
Schimmer says the future for the Westland area is bright. He said planners want to know what’s most important to residents as they work on an economic development strategic plan. “We represent the public and we want to hear what they have to say so that when we get into negotiations with the developer and there’s something that specifically we’ve heard over and over again, then we can bring that up to the developer and work that into our negotiations,” Schimmer said. “If the developer wants something from us, we’re going to ask them for something and that something is going to be generated by what the community has told us.”
Deb Miller, owner of Boulevard Strategies, said her company is working with the mall owner to develop plans for the site. She said the company has been involved in discussions with a number of entities adding that it will be a mixed-use redevelopment that will be complementary to the casino. Miller declined to provide any specifics.