Main Westdale Mall demolition nearing start

Utility change, walls required for project

By George C. Ford, The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — Physical changes needed to begin demolition of the main portion of Westdale Mall will begin within the next couple of weeks.

Construction could begin as early as this week on semi-permanent walls that will provide JC Penney and Younkers with an airtight and watertight barrier during the mall demolition process.

“Getting the walls built between the mall and the existing tenants has been the biggest point of discussion and difficulty,” said Lisa Rowe, vice president of Frew Development and general manager of Westdale. “We have to make sure they are built as interior and exterior walls. We’ve had engineers drilling into the concrete block to determine if there is enough rebar to take wind loads since it’s always been an interior wall.

“We want to be able to build the walls once and add vestibules when they become exterior entrances after the mall has been demolished.”

Rowe said Alliant Energy plans to switch the mall’s electric service to a new underground power line during the late night/early morning hours of Aug. 19. The project, originally planned for June 30, was delayed while utility crews worked to repair storm damage.

The electrical service, which also provides power to the nearby Menards store, must be relocated to allow for construction of a new ring road and other mall property changes.

Rowe said D.W. Zinser of Walford will likely begin demolition of the mall next month. She said the company also expects to begin grading and site work on the Edgewood Road side of the mall for several businesses along the perimeter of the mall.

“We know that we’re running out of summer, but we are still planning to move forward this fall,” Rowe said. “There are so many details involved in separating a mall from (existing) stores that need to continue operating without interruption.

“Nothing has changed in terms of the overall master plan from what was approved by the city in December 2013.”

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