What's next for Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids?

Demolition won't begin for six to eight weeks

If you're expecting to see the wrecking ball swing Tuesday morning after the doors are locked Monday night at Westdale Mall, you will need to wait a couple of months.

Lisa Rowe, Westdale general manager, said all of the non-anchor tenants will have closed and removed their property by Monday night with the exception of the City Looks Salon & Spa.

"City Looks has had some construction delays in their new space (adjacent to H&R Block in Edgewood Station)," Rowe said. " We have been working with them on an extension to accommodate their situation, so they will be remaining open through April 26.

"We will have one upper level door open only for CityLooks' customers. No one else will be allowed in the mall, which will be considered a construction zone."

Rowe said Frew Development Group is negotiating with a single tenant to lease both floors of the former Von Maur building. She declined to identify the prospective retailer or say whether it is a local or national business.

If a lease is finalized, Rowe expects the store will open in late fall of this year or early 2015.

John Frew, president and CEO of Frew Development Group, said preparation for demolition of the central portion of the 35-year-old mall is expected to take six to eight weeks.

"We will need to build temporary closures for the mall entrances to Penney's, Younkers and the former Von Maur building," Frew said. "These interior walls, which should be completed in May, will need to be attractive as Penney's and Younkers will continue to conduct business."

Frew said everything will need to be removed from the roof of the mall down to the wood decking. He said the mall's utilities will need to be disconnected and all hazardous materials removed before demolition can begin.

"It will take about three months for the demolition of the main part the mall," Frew said.

Rowe said Frew Development Group, which is overseeing a $90 million redevelopment of the property, will move in late April from the second floor of the mall to a strip center near the Wiley Boulevard entrance of the mall.

"We expect to be there for at least two years, but we have an option for a third year," Rowe said. "It's really ideal because we will be able to look out our front windows and see what's going on with the redevelopment of our property."

The "new" Westdale will be a mixed-use community that will feature three anchor stores, other retail storefronts, offices, restaurants, housing and a hotel. Frew said concurrent with the demolition of the central portion of the mall, "pads" on the Edgewood Road border of the mall will be prepared for construction of new buildings .

"If everything goes according to plan and Mother Nature cooperates, you will see as many as four new buildings going up this summer," Frew said. "We are trying to get as much open as possible by the end of 2014, and you will see activity continue over the next several years.

"Some of our buildings are not scheduled to come online until the 10th year of construction."

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