Westland Mall Headed to 100% Vacancy with Closure of Sears
The long-neglected Westland Mall will officially be empty this fall as the final tenant shutters its doors. Sears announced its latest round of 72 store closures yesterday, which includes its Westland Mall and Eastland Mall locations.
The Westland Mall property has been discussed many times as a possible site for a catalytic development project that could spur new interest on the west side of Columbus, but no plans have yet materialized, resulting in frustration residents and leaders alike.
“This is a gateway into Columbus on West Broad, and it’s quite frustrating, every day, seeing no action on it,” stated car dealership owner Chris Haydocy during an interview with Columbus Underground in December.”The 800 pound gorilla is Westland Mall… it’s now hurting the economics up and down the corridor, and it’s hampering our growth.”
2017 has been a tough year for many large chain retail operators that can traditionally be found in malls across the U.S. Sears in particular has already announced a round of closures in January, and in March reported that the company could be headed toward closing all of its stores.
The 860,000 square foot Westland Mall opened in 1969, and Sears was an anchor store upon its grand opening. Westland remained a destination retail center for the region through the late 90s, but its success was hampered by the opening of The Mall at Tuttle Crossing in 1997, Easton Town Center in 1999 and Polaris Fashion Place in 2000.
Some experts are predicting that a quarter of all shopping malls in the U.S. could be closed within the next five years.