City leaders say Town Center here to stay

    Mayor Amy Goodwin said the mall is here to stay and every day she is working to help revitalize this area. (WCHS/WVAH)

    City officials said while the Charleston Town Center certainly faces challenges, the recent purchase is speeding up the process that will help redevelopment and investment to the downtown area.

    Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin said the mall is here to stay and every day she is working to help revitalize this area.

    "The mall is critical to the vitality of downtown," Goodwin said. "To have a vibrant downtown, we have to have a vibrant place. That city center core, we put $100 million in to the Coliseum and Convention Center. It has to work."

    Goodwin said the Town Center's evolution really will depend on who buys it from the bank, and what is developed around it.

    One of those developments will be the Sears Building, which was purchased for $2.5 million, and Goodwin confirms it will be a hotel. She said she spoke with the new property owner Tuesday.

    "There are investors that are coming in and not only looking at mall purchases, or purchases within and around the mall but investments in the city of Charleston," Goodwin said.

    But development is hard when businesses like Macy's decide to close their doors.

    Just last week, Qdoba announced it will be leaving the Town Center but will keep its Southridge location open.

    Larry Malone with the city's Economic and Community Development Office said that is just part of the changing dynamic of retail but he is not worried.

    "We think the mall has some unique attributes that sets it apart from suburban malls,” Malone said.

    Malone said the mall's purchase by U.S. Bank will be a temporary ownership, and he expects it to be sold to a new developer later this year.

    "The mall is here to stay, and we believe and more than believe we expect it to be a retail center, maybe different than it was before and a compliment to the hotel industry and the convention center," Malone said.

    The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority will meet Wednesday to address the Town Center task force and to hold an executive session on the mall.

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