Some worry about College Square Mall's future - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some worry about College Square Mall's future

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Parts of Cedar Falls are booming:  a successful Main Street and new businesses are going up along Highway 58 at Viking Road.  But are these developments putting another already struggling area at risk?

New Scheels and Menards stores are the latest developments to the growing Highway 58 and Viking Road area of Cedar Falls. 

"Some of those businesses, that's their business model, what they look at in other communities is trying to get next to those high traffic, high volume areas," said Ron Gaines, Cedar Falls Developmental Services Director.

But while some parts of town are expanding, it might be at the expense of another area:  University Avenue.  It's expected Scheels will close its store at the College Square Mall when the new Cedar Falls store is complete.  That will leave a big hole at the mall, which has several empty storefronts already.

Katie Warren started a business at College Square 15 months ago.  She's concerned when Scheels leaves, it could be tough for all mall businesses to stay afloat and thinks management needs to intervene.

"I think that if they invested some money into drawing businesses here, working with them, instead of against them, we'd be able to put more people in and the whole area would grow and be what I think it should be in a college town," said Warren, owner of KT Inflatables.

The city says the best hope to bring College Square back to life is the planned re-development of University Avenue, which it hopes will help attract new businesses.

GK Development, which owns College Square, says current mall tenants are doing well and improvements to the area will help the shopping center.  It issued the following statement:

"College Square merchants are performing well.  We are encouraged by the improvements planned for University Drive.  Shoppers will experience easier access to College Square Mall when these improvements are completed.

With the recent addition of Panda Express to the shopping center's successful restaurant row and the opening of Falafel Petra House, our leasing team continues to seek merchants and restaurants that fit the needs of the greater Cedar Valley area and reinforce College Square Mall as a destination for shopping and dining."

Katie Warren hopes management will make strides to keep developing and maintaining the mall so entrepreneurs like her will want to locate in College Square.

 

 

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