New vision for old Montgomery Mall

A new deal is in the works for the abandoned Montgomery Mall building. Pieces of the plan were announced Thursday.

The general feeling is that retail simply won't succeed in the area around the mall, so the focus is shifting to possibly turning the space into some sort of medical facility.

Keith Corporation, a real estate development firm out of Charlotte, North Carolina has signed a purchase agreement with one of the owners to bring that idea to life.

The corporation wants to purchase some 440,000 square feet of the mall, including the old JC Penny store and the main inside corridor in an effort to house a medical facility. The facility would house doctors' offices, a medical clinic or an urgent care center.

Montgomery Mall first opened in the 1960's with one department store, Montgomery Fair, and thrived for years. A decline that's becoming a trend in that area of the Eastern Boulevard left the mall vulnerable to closure in recent years, and in September of 2008 it found itself completely empty. The last tenant, Steve & Barry's, moved out.

Mayor Todd Strange says the new plan could be the start to turning things around for the area. As part of the deal the city of Montgomery has agreed to move a fire station and police presence onto the property.

While a purchase agreement is not the same as a sale, officials say they've taken a step in the beginning of the process. The Keith Corporation still has a number of deadlines to make a series of down payments over the next several months.

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