A new investment group is developing plans to revamp the struggling Columbia Place Mall along Two Notch Road near Decker Boulevard.
Shawl Pryor, senior vice president of Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC, has an ambitious vision for the property – perhaps a movie theater, local food trucks or LASER tag. But the firm only bought the mall less than two weeks ago and still is working on concrete plans.
Moonbeam acquired the bank note in July that the previous owners, CBL & Associates Properties, defaulted on. Moonbeam became active lenders to CBL, who, despite removing the mall as a listed property from their website, still were the owners until the end of October.
“As the lender, we (didn’t) have authority to go in and make changes,” Pryor said.
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But as the new owners, the company now can launch its planning phase for the nearly 40-year-old mall in the first-ring suburb around Decker Boulevard. The mall, once a thriving part of the community, is about three-quarters occupied. Much like the surrounding Decker community, the mall lost tenants when residents began moving to Northeast Richland, followed by retailers.
Moonbeam has a reputation for saving malls from the brink of collapse. Pryor attributes their talent to three essentials.
“We want to bring people back into the mall to have fun ... to create an experience with entertainment, restaurant and shopping elements,” he said. “Add those three together to get the true shopping experience – shop, dine and also have various entertainment experiences – movie theaters, bigger concepts, maybe a game room or a LASER tag course.”
Pryor also hopes to get customers some fresh air by parking local food trucks outside of the mall on weekends – a method he says has worked wonders for some of their other properties. The idea could be a perfect fit for Columbia, where many food truckers are having a difficult time finding a place in the city to set up shop.
Pryor also envisions the mall holding philanthropic events and other “fun, warm and fuzzy type events,” geared towards armed servicemen and first responders.
The company is “excited about the market and excited to be a part of that property,” Pryor said. “It’s a property that we think has great future potential. With time, effort, vision and financial know-how, there’s a strong possibility that Columbia Place Mall could exceed everyone’s future expectations.”