Richland Mall to be Demolished
The rebirth of the Richland Mall is on the horizon.
At a news conference Monday, February 5, 2024, Mayor Andrews announced the developer, Southeastern, has hired a demolition contractor and a demolition schedule is forthcoming.
This is an accelerated timeline than initially proposed when the mall was purchased since Belk is no longer part of the project.
The City of Forest Acres announced its planned park at the mall is also being accelerated. The city is currently in talks with a landscape architect to develop a contract for the project. The city expects to break ground and begin construction on the park in 18 months.
“The City of Forest Acres is committed to this project not just as economic development, but as the creation of a true city center,” said Mayor Andrews. “We are planting a park here that will serve as a community space not just for the residents of Forest Acres, but for all of the Midlands.”
Mayor Andrews publicly thanked our lawmakers, Senator Mia McCleod and Representatives Beth Bernstein and Heather Bauer for helping to secure three million dollars for the park in the state budget calling it “instrumental” in the purchase of the property.
He also thanked the Richland County Council, including Chair Jesica Mackey and Councilman Don Weaver, for helping to solidify a tax incentive package for the developer.
“This redevelopment will also transform for the better center of this county and I hope it benefits all of this county,” added Mayor Andrews.
Richland Mall is now closed to the public indefinitely as it is private property and soon to be a construction site.
A fencing contractor started to secure the perimeter today. They will begin along the former Forest Drive entrance. Barricades are also set up to prevent any drivers from entering the premises.
The FAPD is committed to securing the safety of the site and will charge anyone who enters with trespassing.
The 32-acre site has about 930,000 sq. feet of concrete that will be demolished + asphalt.
While the demolition + construction will be a long process, Mayor Andrews encouraged the public to keep their eye on the prize and celebrate the blight will now be gone and soon, many new memories will be made.
The redevelopment plan is a mixed-use property that includes retail plus a brewery or tap room overlooking our new city park. The land for the park was acquired by the City of Forest Acres as part of the deal and it will be developed into a large greenspace for hosting large events and concerts. The site will also house a large grocery stores and apartment homes.
The historic deal is the single largest investment in Forest Acres in more than 35 years. Once the project is complete Southeastern’s new property is estimated to be valued at around $100 million dollars, if not more.
The first phase of the redevelopment will hopefully be completed within three to four years once demolition starts. That includes the brewery and the new park that the City of Forest Acres owns and will develop. It will also include a large grocery store, about 20,000 square feet of additional retail space and a few hundred apartments.
“The public park will invite citizens to spend longer amounts of time at the property, and ideally, visit the retail stores and restaurants,” says Southeastern VP Jason Long. “All of our uses work together to make each use better and more desirable.”
The second phase will include more mixed-use retail on the east side of the property. It will also include a second section of apartments overseeing Beltline Boulevard. That will take another four to five years to finish, rounding out the four-to-five-year completion date.
The development, which is still yet to be named, will build on the successes the city has proven works in Forest Acres. Trenholm Plaza is destination shopping for people across the Midlands and is anchored by two grocery stores, Publix and The Fresh Market.
Cardinal Crossing is considered another redevelopment success and is also a mixed-use property.
The final product will have about 215,000 square feet of retail space compared to the former Richland Mall’s 931,000 square feet. By reducing the construction footprint to about one-third of the original size at the site traffic is not expected to be a large concern. However, the SCDOT will likely require a traffic study by an engineer as the project progresses.