FOND DU LAC – Demolition of the city’s landmark Forest Mall continues, as developers make room for progress.
In July, Community Development Director Dyann Benson told City Council that the property owners, ATR Associates, Inc., of Dallas, Texas, continue to overhaul the mall property. This includes removal of old services, and upgrading other services as it seeks to attract new business.
The property is listed with MidAmerica Real Estate Group, and offerings include “anchor and junior anchor opportunities between a proposed regional grocer and Kohl’s Department Store.”
It looks like Kohl’s will be the remaining anchor store at the mall, which had it’s grand opening in Fond du Lac in September of 1973.
The center section of the mall under demolition — where Sears and JC Penney’s were located — will be home to the future Meijer store. Kohl’s will remain on the west end of the mall but Staples has opted not to renew its lease, Benson said.
An employee at Staples this week said the store was scheduled to shut its doors around Oct. 16. Most of the shelves are empty.
The mall was purchased in 2016 and Sears was bought in 2018 by ATR Associates, Inc., of Dallas, Texas. Benson said redevelopment of the mall will be lengthy because of significant challenges due to a complicated network of ownership and the need to negotiate overlapping real estate agreements.
The process of creating a TIF, or tax increment financing, district will start soon, Benson said. TIF districts can be created to redevelop blighted properties, develop infrastructure for industrial parks, fund cleanup of contaminated properties and provide incentives for projects.
Local taxing entities must approve the creation of a TIF district. In doing so, they agree to forgo the new tax revenue generated by any new development in the district, for up to 23 years.
An overview of the Forest Mall property shows 5,000 to more than 47,000 square feet available for new stores between Kohl’s and the proposed 160,000-square-foot Meijer.
Contact Sharon Roznik at 920-907-7936 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/reporterroz/
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