Plans to redevelop Richland Mall into 500 apartments, retail space, a city park, and a grocery store took another step forward this week with approval from the city council of Forest Acres.
Last month Richland County Council voted to approve tax incentives on the $100 million project to offset the cost of redevelopment for developers.
What could it look like?
The 32-acre site — near the intersection of Forest Drive and Beltline Boulevard — will be redeveloped by the Southeastern Development based in Augusta, GA which will demolish parts of the mall and redevelop others. Southeastern is no stranger to redeveloping obsolete malls into multi-use properties. The company is currently working on a similar project on 44 acres at the former Aiken Mall.
Good news Belk fans, the Charlotte-based department store chain will stay on site as an anchor store but will be moving into the vacant space where the Parisian department store was once located. The move will take about two years to complete and will remain open in its current location until then. Plans for Barnes and Noble have not been finalized.
Let’s take a quick look at the Richland Mall property over the years.
- 1961 — Richland Mall opens as the first mall in Columbia. It was an open-air mall that housed 27 stores including a Winn-Dixie grocery store and a movie theater.
- 1980s – The open-air mall concept was considered outdated and converted into an indoor shopping mall named Richland Fashion Mall. The $150 million expansion in 1988 was the largest industrial investment in the county to date.
- 1990s — The mall changed its name back to Richland Mall in 1996 and the Barnes and Noble opened the following year.
- 2000s — Plans to redevelop the mall into a mixed-use retail and residential development called Midtown at Forest Acres never came to fruition.
- 2020 — The City of Forest Acres and Southeastern Development start work on a plan to redevelop the property.
- Winter 2022/23 — Southeastern Development is projected to close on the mall property and begin phase one of redevelopment.
- ~2028 — Phase one of the redevelopment is set to be completed within five years.
- ~2033 — The estimated completion of the second phase which includes more retail space + apartments.