CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As we welcome in the new year, local officials are welcoming new ideas from the public to help save the struggling Charleston Town Center mall.
Newly-elected West Virginia Delegate Jim Barach has a few New Year’s resolutions to help bring back the shopping center’s prominence.
After losing anchor stores like Sears and Macy’s, the Charleston Town Center’s foot traffic has significantly decreased. On a national scale, recent studies say 25-percent of all U.S. malls could be out of business by 2022. Without a quick turnaround, the CTC could close sooner than that.
Del. Jim Barach, D-Kanawha County said, “when you’re going to the mall, you’re looking for a place that embraces you. You want to be welcomed in , it’s supposed to be an experience… it’s a social experience and if you don’t feel safe, you’re not going to come here.”
Del. Barach has four main ideas for revitalizing the Charleston Town Center, starting with improving security, particularly with the mall’s parking area to help shoppers feel safe while walking to and from their cars.
Secondly, he wants to eliminate the parking fee to help save shoppers money and find a new way to make up for the mall’s lost parking revenue.
Third, Del. Barach proposes a surcharge on out-of-state companies that sell merchandise inside the state.
“We’ll collect that, put that into a special fund that will be used to give grants or low or no interest loans to businesses, start ups, minority businesses, and possibly offset some of the costs of doing business here – high rents, things like that,” said Del. Barach.
Finally, he plans to reposition CTC’s former anchor stores that are currently vacant for non-retail businesses such as schools, offices and even perhaps churches.
CTC Marketing Coordinator, Lisa McCracken said, “we all have history with this shopping center and the management team welcomes future discussions and conversations on the city, county and state levels regarding re-imagining the property.”
If you have an idea to help the Charleston Town Center, Del. Barach encourages mall-goers to add to the conversation and help find solutions. He asks those ideas be submitted to him through Facebook.