ALTON, IL (KPLR) – Shopping mall "shutdowns" have dominated St. Louis area headlines in recent years.
We’ve seen the end of Jamestown Mall, Crestwood Plaza, and Northwest Plaza.
Now, there's a new plan to pump millions of dollars into Alton Square Mall less than two weeks after the Macy’s store there went out of business.
It was a downright dreary Monday at Alton Square and not just on the outside.
“I wanted to go to Macy’s but I was really disappointed that Macy’s has officially closed,” said shopper Diana Taylor, who works at Paraquad and brought a group of 8 seniors from North St. Louis County, for a day of shopping.
More stores have been going than coming but that’s not the story on this day.
“The story is what makes great cities great. Things come, things go, but you rejuvenate yourself.
You find yourself again and you keep moving forward,” said Alton Mayor, Brant Walker.
The Hull Property Group, which owns the mall, has announced a plan to demolish the former Macy’s and redevelop the resulting 14 and a half empty acres facing homer Adams Parkway and a new movie theater in the old Sears store on the other side of the mall.
“If they’re going to get the senior citizen they’ve got to put a craft place in here. They’ve got to put a floral shop so we get our flowers, our plants, and our gardens,” said shopper, Janet Ward, of Ferguson.
“We had two bookstores, two music stores, two toy stores, I can’t tell you how many shoe stores,” said Linda McCormick, recalling the heyday of the mall through the 80’s and late 90’s.
Things have been humming at her Cookie Factory Bakery and Café for more than 37 years. There will be no “throwing in the towel”.
“I’ve been here a long time. My daughter was raised here, growing up. I have two granddaughters working here now,” McCormick said.
“Right now, things are just closing down. I want to see them revitalize Alton (Square) Mall because I really like it,” Taylor said.
“It’s really a good day that we’re in Alton talking about a massive redevelopment where more cities are talking about their malls closing,” Mayor Walker said.
The Hull Property Group inspired confidence, operating malls in close to 30 cities, he said.
The final scope and price tag are still be worked out. There will be a public funding component here -- possibly a TIF, tax increment financing, where property taxes are abated to offset part of the developer's cost.
Mayor Walker expects more details after meeting with Hull next week.