Richland Mall sold to Augusta-based developer for $18.6 million
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland Mall along Forest Drive in Forest Acres has officially been sold and is under new management.
The Augusta-based company, Southeastern Development purchased the property, and is expected to spend at least $100 million on the project over the next 10 years.
Plans for the property include delivering new apartments, a grocery store, businesses, and a brewery.
Jason Long, Southeastern Development Senior VP, said the key to this deal has been the public-private partnership with Richland County and the City of Forest Acres.
“I think our company is thankful for the relationships and support we’ve gotten from the City of Forest Acres and from Richland County,” he said. “We go into a lot of places, and don’t necessarily have the collective support and buy-in that we feel is necessary to make a project like this happen.”
This 32-acre piece of land is prime real estate, Long said, and Southeastern Development is excited to get to work on overhauling this property.
This is the third, and largest, mall redevelopment project that Southeastern Development has taken on in the last few years.
“We think Columbia’s growing, and so we think that this property, in particular, is an area that once we’re done is a place that people will want to live,” Long said. “It’s convenient to downtown.”
The first is the Aiken Mall redevelopment, which sold for about $4 million. That project is still in the construction phase.
The second is the Shelter Cove Town Centre in Hilton Head, which sold for about $17 million.
The Richland Mall sold for $18.6 million.
Both Richland County and Forest Acres councils approved millions in tax incentives to help spur growth at the property.
This will be the largest investment in Forest Acres in more than 35 years.
“The closing of the property and the change of ownership and the sale is just a huge milestone for us,” Forest Acres City Administrator Shaun Greenwood said. “We’ve been trying to get this mall redeveloped for 20-plus years.”
Greenwood said he got Long’s number from a colleague nearly three years ago and began conversations with Southeastern Development.
Forest Acres is also paying for a 6-acre park behind the mall. What currently sits as a vacant parking lot will become an event space, and include an amphitheater for concerts.
Greenwood said this factors into the city’s long-term vision for economic growth.
“It’s going to create a place that we’ve heard from citizens for years that they say is missing in Forest Acres,” he said. “They need a place to gather, they need a place to have large events. We’re trying to provide that the best we can.”
Stacey Hogg is a resident of Forest Acres who is excited about the project.
“This was a beautiful mall,” she said. “When I was in college here, I worked here for a short period of time and loved it, loved the area. But this mall has really been an eyesore for us.”
Southeastern Development said it will spend the next six months hiring architects to put final plans together. Demolition is expected to begin within the next year.
The Belk and Barnes & Noble will stay open during the first phase of construction.
Belk will be relocated to the other side of the mall at the old Parisian building. Southeastern Development hopes to find space for the bookstore in the new development.
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