Moline city leaders say they are confident about a facelift for the aging SouthPark Mall, and they plan to meet with mall owners Thursday, November 7 to firm up plans.
Meanwhile, WQAD has obtained preliminary renderings of mall owner Macerich's new concept for SouthPark, which would include tearing down the former Sears store.
"We'll know more at the end of this week but what they're looking at doing is taking the mall from an indoor mall to a partial indoor-outdoor mall. So, really, flipping a lot of doors to the outside because people like to go park right in front of the door of the store they want to go to," said Ray Forsythe, Moline's Director of Economic Development.
Macerich is actively recruiting potential new stores and used the renderings online as a marketing tool to attract tenants.
"They're looking at a way to invest in SouthPark and really make it a destination for people on the Illinois side, but also draw people from the Iowa side. We're looking at ways to make SouthPark different than NorthPark," he said.
Phase one includes demolition of the Sears store that closed for good last month.
"With Sears closing, now is the opportunity to take advantage of that space," Forsythe said, "Taking some of the excess space out. The mall was overbuilt."
There would also be changes to the current food court, and more stand alone restaurants expected.
Plans hinge on a request to the Illinois Department of Transportation for a new mall entrance off John Deere Road.
"The better access we can get to John Deere Road, the more money they can put back into the property. We should have an answer in the next couple of weeks so we're pretty excited about that," Forsythe said.
The city believes that after years of neglect by the mall's former owner, the nearly-40-year-old shopping landmark may get a second chance.
"We think it's going to be a multi-year development, with a pretty big phases over the next 12 months."