Antioch Center may get new life soon

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Antioch Center has a new owner and new plans to redevelop the mall.

Leaders in the Northland hope that this time something will actually happen at the site of the 50 year old mall.

Savanah Phillips needs new shoes for her fast growing son.

She lives near Antioch Center and is frustrated by the lack of shopping options.

"It's really hard to shop when there's not a lot of stores close to your area," said Phillips.

Only three stores remain at Antioch Center.

"If they're going to actually do something with it, I just want something that everyone can enjoy and be able to shop and eat and do whatever they want close to home so they don't have to go far," added Phillips.

The new owner of the shopping center at Vivion and North Antioch is a local firm that expected to tear down the building and bring in new retail.

The previous owner was a Canadian company that let it become an eyesore with peeling paint and damaged awnings.

Neighbors have been upset because the dying mall has dragged down nearby business.

"You can just see it all over. The neighborhood people are worried about their property values. It's like a cancer that has to be stopped. And so that's why we're excited about this new deal," said Jim Rice, the CEO of Northland Neighborhoods, Inc.

It's been five years since the city declared the area blighted and set up a TIF district to offer tax breaks for redevelopment.

The previous owner never got the job done.

But city officials believe the new owner can do something.

"Absolutely, he's got a track record of getting the the projects done, quality projects, but also... as important a track record of working with the neighborhoods," said Deb Hermann, a KCMO City Council Member who represents the area.

Hermann says the city will expedite demolition permits.

Although the mall will be quickly torn down, there's no decision yet on what new retailers will end up here.

The new developer has experience with another, similar local project.

It tore down the former Blue Ridge mall and built new retail anchored by a Wal-Mart store.

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