Westdale redevelopment running well ahead of schedule

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)- A little more than three years ago, the old Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids got torn down as part of a complete makeover of the failed mall. And a progress report delivered to the city of Cedar Rapids shows a rebirth that’s running well ahead of schedule.

Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids on Thursday.

The agreement between the city and Frew Development called for Westdale to show at least 200 full time equivalent employees at stores and $21-million dollars in property value by the end of 2017.

The actual figures reported by developers on Thursday far exceeded those numbers.

Stores at Westdale now report the equivalent of slightly more than 500 employees.

And property values by the end of the year should exceed $60 million dollars.

The developer wasn’t required to reach those goals, under the agreement with the city, until the year 2022.

Westdale General Manager Lisa Rowe says the original timeline called for the redeveloped property to be near capacity in about 10 years. She thinks it should be fairly full in just a couple more years.

“We had five new tenants opening in the fourth quarter of 2017. The hotel is due to open in 2018. I think we’ll have just as aggressive a construction schedule in 2018,”she said.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett says the city doesn’t regret setting more ambitious goals for the redevelopment back in 2013.

At that time, only Frew Development was willing to take a change on what many called a “zombie mall.”

The mayor says the city gave the developer a $5-million dollar grant to start the project and guaranteed $11.5-million dollars in loans for financing construction.

Free Development is on track to pay off all the obligations on time without any further city assistance.