Westdale's first major commercial development in years under way

Dave DeWitte
Published: March 17 2010 | 7:09 pm - Updated: 30 March 2014 | 9:16 pm in
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Work is beginning on a long-awaited redevelopment of the former Big Lots property on the Westdale Mall perimeter.

The 54,000-square-foot commercial strip that formerly housed Westdale Laundromat and Big Lots will be demolished to make way for Edgewood Station, a commercial development owned by Gerry Ambrose and Hunter Parks. D.W. Zinser & Co. is expected to begin taking down the building late next week.

At least two new restaurants are expected to be the major tenants of the 25,000-square-foot development, according to Parks, whose Hunter Companies is the general contractor. Parks said earlier plans called for the restaurants to be built on free-standing pad sites outside the main building.

The second component of the project will be a free-standing building for a financial institution.

Parks did not disclose any of the prospective tenants, saying leases had not been signed.

The Edgewood Station project will be the first major commercial development in many years at Westdale Mall, which has struggled with rising vacancy rates for the last decade. Parks said interest from prospective retail tenants has been high, making it appear that leasing the available space will not be difficult.

The two developers acquired a 6-acre parcel that included the Big Lots building last year from Ditman Partners of California. They had to go through city approvals for the project and gain approval from other major stakeholders at the mall.

A unit of Park National Bank of Chicago acquired most of the mall property in a foreclosure action in 2007. After the June 2008 flood, the bank unsuccessfully tried to interest Linn County in buying the property.

Park National Bank’s deposits and most of its assets were acquired last fall by U.S. Bank. The new owner “has been really supportive” of the Edgewood Station, according to Parks.

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