Richland Mall will be demolished and redeveloped, the biggest investment in three decades for Forest Acres

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A feature of Forest Acres is being demolished and redeveloped.

The town of Forest Acres said the Richland Mall should be sold and demolished, calling it the biggest investment in the area in 35 years.

Southeastern Development of Augusta, GA is under contract to purchase the property. It is estimated that the redevelopment will be worth approximately $100 million. The plan on the 32-acre site includes a mixed-use property for retail, a brewery or taproom, ample space for events and concerts, a grocery store, and apartments.

“This is a historic day for Forest Acres and Richland County,” Forest Acres Mayor Frank Brunson said.

Councilman Thomas Andrews said the city spent two and a half years working on the project.

Richland Mall opened in 1961 and was the area’s first mall. The outdoor center was later converted to an indoor mall in the 1980s. Currently, only three tenants occupy the approximately one million square feet of retail space.

Under this partnership, the city will purchase the green space for $3 million and oversee the development of the park. The city said the company is expected to close on the property in the near future. The next step will include hiring an architect to draw up the site plans, which should take at least six months.

Next Southeastern will rehabilitate the old Parisian building along Forest Drive, Belk will move into the building when complete. It will take about 12-18 months, during this time Belk will remain open in its current store.

Then Southeastern will begin demolishing the structure, which is expected to take approximately another 12 to 18 months. The mall is estimated to be approximately 931,000 feet of concrete.

In total, planners expect the project to take four to five years before opening.

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