City Council Discusses Major Changes at Southwyck

The proposed road would cut through the existing mall.
The proposed road would cut through the existing mall.

SOUTH TOLEDO -- Just two days after the announcement that the Dillard's store at Southwyck Mall would close, now there's a plan to replace the familiar horseshoe-like curve of the shopping center, and design a new road to bisect the land to make a "main street" atmosphere.  That plan came out of a meeting on Monday where city council members heard updated plans to save the struggling complex.

Just this past Saturday, employees at the Dillard's store in Southwyck got notices that their store would close in 60 days.  About 10 days earlier, the city committed to spending more than $2 million dollars for infrastructure for Southwyck to save the existing businesses like Dillard's, and attract new ones.

At the council committee meeting, an engineer from the city's Department of Public Utilities unveiled the design for the proposed access road.  It would link Cheyenne Boulevard on one end of the complex with Brownstone Boulevard at the other.  The mall itself would have to be demolished, but new retail could spring up on either side.

"I think that there's room in this market for other retail and mixed commercial uses and that's a huge piece of land in the middle of a you know, bustling strip," said city council member Mike Craig.

City officials also told council that if they approved the $2.7 million dollars in infrastructure improvements, Cheyenne Boulevard would be revamped.  There would be other road improvements, new lightposts, and new flowers planted.

Council members were actually encouraged by news that the Dillard's store will close in 60 days.  They think it could help developer Larry Dillin take control of the Dillard family's share of ownership in Southwyck, and use it for his own redevelopment plans.

"We need tenants that are there for the long haul," said Bill Thomas of Dillin Corporation.  "[Tenants] that have a long commitment to the site and then we can use those tenants to be able to build up all the rest of the tenant base that's there."

The council committee did not vote to send the infrastructure ordinance to the full council for approval.  They first want to hear more from developer Larry Dillin.

Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.

Posted by AEB