City optimistic about Montgomery Mall plans

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Slowly but surely, plans to breathe new life into the old Montgomery Mall property are coming together.   For three years, people in the neighborhoods around the mall have been waiting for something to fill the vast space.

"We just want to see that they actually utilize the building, instead of having it vacant, and it's been vacant for awhile," said Ayanna Scott, who lives near the mall.  "We would like to see some improvements, and some revitalization of this side of town."

Mayor Todd Strange told WSFA 12 News that revitalization could be coming soon.   Within the next two weeks, the city hopes to have a purchase agreement to buy the old Steve and Barry's site on the south side of the property.  The city would convert the space into a new fire and police substation, along with a walking track.

"It turned out that's going to be less expensive than building new brick and mortar, so it really works," Mayor Strange said.  "So from that standpoint, we're making a better deal.  And we're bringing life and vitality."

RiversEdge Church plans to move into the old Parisian building.  And the Keith Corporation announced a purchase agreement earlier this year to buy the main retail space and former J.C. Penny's store.

"We're still in the arena of medical, education and government," the Mayor said.

The Mayor said even though there isn't a retail development plan at the mall right away, once the property is built up, stores and the like could follow.

"Anytime that you could have two to three hundred employees, and you have citizens transacting there, and the retail will follow and the retail will come," he said.  It will stabilize and begin to regenerate that area."

While it could take longer for the main space to be developed, the church and city hope to begin construction after the first of the year.

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