BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Southern Park Mall in Boardman has some major plans to reinvent itself. Some of its partnerships will help offset the multi-million dollar cost.
The last brick of the former Sears building fell the day before Thanksgiving. The project remains on schedule to redevelop the site into DeBartolo Commons and open in the fall.
But clearing the building and putting new stormwater lines in don’t generate revenue.
“It’s very difficult in a publicly-traded company setting to make sense of those types of investments but you need to make them in order to unlock the good value that you can ultimately unlock if you do,” said developer Matt Jurkowitz.
The mall’s owner, Washington Prime Group, is investing $30 million. No government agency is giving up a penny. No one living in Boardman or Mahoning County will pay either.
The mall is using common economic development tools to offset $6 million.
The plan calls for Washington Prime Group to fund 100% of the project costs upfront and be reimbursed a portion of those costs over time through a series of programs, including the following (Source: Washington Prime Group):
–Work with partners at the Western Reserve Port Authority to save on sales tax paid on construction materials
–Work with Mahoning County officials, with the support of the county commissioners, Boardman Township and Boardman Local Schools, to establish a program allowing Washington Prime Group to keep a portion of new real estate taxes generated from the newly-created property value
–Work with Boardman Township, Mahoning County and other local partners to put programs in place to allow Washington Prime Group to impose, for a limited time, new taxes on the Southern Park Mall site, which, once collected, will be shared with the company
The Boardman School District has to approve one of those tools but figures it will unlock property value with a stronger mall.
The oldest part of Center Intermediate School across the street from Southern Park is over 100 years old.
“A dream of ours someday is to replace that building and sell that property, so it’ll be nice to see that the mall thrives,” said Jeff Barone, with Boardman’s board of education.
DeBartolo Commons, Steel Valley Brew Works, a hike and bike path and green space will make this area a new focal point of Boardman. It could become a leading example of future mall concepts.
“Plans are being put in place to kind of revitalize and retool the area and that’s a good thing, a really good thing, for Mahoning County,” said Boardman Administrator Jason Loree.
The mall wanted to get the word out about the plan Thursday because some of the government agencies have to approve unlocking these economic development tools, starting within two weeks.
Next Friday, the mall is hosting Coffee with the Community. Members of the community can go and ask any specific questions about the project or these development incentives — how they work and how they impact you.