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Westdale Mall preparing for demolition


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Utilities for anchor tenants relocated

By George C. Ford, The Gazette

Utilities are being relocated and other work is progressing in preparation for the demolition of the main section of Westdale Mall in southwest Cedar Rapids.

Frew Development of Denver, Colo., is overseeing a $90 million redevelopment of Westdale to create a mixed-use community that will feature three anchor stores, other retail storefronts, offices, restaurants, housing and a hotel.

Lisa Rowe, vice president of Frew Development and Westdale general manager, said new utility service is needed to assure that J.C. Penney and Younkers will continue to operate without disruption once significant construction work begins.

“We’ve already trenched for some new CentutyLink lines that will provide service to J.C. Penney, Younkers and the former Von Maur space,” Rowe said. “We’re in the process of getting Younkers switched over to that new CenturyLink service.

“There’s also some temporary electrical service that we’re going to need for the parking lot lights when we start digging into the site.”

Rowe said abatement of asbestos and other potentially hazardous building materials in the central portion of the mall has been completed. She said representatives of Terrecon Consultants and Ecco Midwest will perform the same type of work on the roof of the mall.

“We’re hoping to start working on the pad sites along the Edgewood Road side of the mall as well as the new ‘ring road’ in July,” Rowe said. “We’re hoping to see the demolition work begin in July. The wild card is design and construction of temporary walls at the mall entrances to J.C. Penney, Younkers and former Von Maur space.”

Rowe said the design of the walls is taking longer than expected.

“We’re trying to build them in such a way that we only have to do it once,” she said. “We don’t want to build an intricate temporary wall for the demolition phase that we will have to rebuild as a permanent entrance after the mall comes down,”

Rowe said work will begin in mid-January 2015 on the demolition of a portion of J.C. Penney that formerly housed automotive tire and battery installation. It will be replaced with formal entrance to the store facing Edgewood Road SW.

While Rowe declined to identify retailers for the pads on the Edgewood Road SW perimeter of Westdale, U.S. Bank and Chick-fil-A are expected to construct buildings. Rowe said several of the buildings should be ready to open in the first quarter of 2015.

Rowe said Frew Development is encouraged by the interest expressed by several potential retail tenants attending the recent International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas.

“With any retailer, the other tenants (in a development) is always an issue,” Rowe said. “As the first few tenants call into place, that makes the next round a lot easier.”

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