Demolition of the former North Towne Square mall on Alexis Road in north Toledo is expected to begin within a month, city officials reported Thursday.
Administrators said in April they hoped demolition would start mid-May, but that date was pushed back because of a pending grant application, said environmental services manager Tim Murphy.
The application to the Ohio Department of Development, which could have resulted in $1.5 million in extra money for the demolition, was denied earlier this month, Mr. Murphy said. Nevertheless, he assured the demolition would still move ahead using $700,000 in revolving federal grant money already approved for use on the property.
"We're disappointed, but it was very competitive," Mr. Murphy said of the state grant denial. "The mall will still be cleaned up and demolished, we just won't do as much work as we would have done if we'd got that extra funding."
The federal funds will pay for the entire mall building to be torn down. However, the mall's floors and parking lot will remain unless the city finds additional funds.
Demolition company Homrich Inc. of Carleton, Mich., submitted the lowest qualified bid for the demolition, but the city has not yet signed a contract with the firm, Mr. Murphy said.
North Towne Square has sat vacant since its February, 2005, closing, with its parking lots occasionally used since then by automakers to store unsold vehicles.
The 21st Century Super Fitness Center, an operating gym attached to the old mall, will remain intact.
Also Thursday, city officials said another former mall site, the vacant Southwyck Shopping Center property in South Toledo, has a potential buyer.
Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers said an offer was made to the property's owners about a month ago, but he declined to provide specific details. He said the buyer would be interested in turning the 68-acre site into a mixed-use development.
"It would take the entire site," the deputy mayor said. "Beyond that I can't tell you anything more."
The city, which secured a grant to clean up the site on Reynolds Road, is acting as a facilitator in negotiations and the property's marketing, although it remains in private hands, Mr. Crothers said.
"We just try to get renters and buyers and sellers together for the benefit of the community," he said.
Southwyck Shopping Center closed in 2008 and was demolished the following year.
The mall's ownership is divided among three entities. The managing partner is MD Management in Kansas City, Mo., a firm formerly known as Dreiseszun & Morgan.
Various trusts of the Morgan and Dreiseszun families now own about half of Southwyck through a firm called S-S-C Co.
The rest is owned by Dillard's Inc., of Little Rock, with the exception of the former Dillard's store, which is owned by the M.G. Herring Group of Dallas.
Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at: email@example.com or 419-724-6272.