Westdale Mall auctions off inventory ahead of full demolition
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -
Westdale Mall, a longtime retail institution in Cedar Rapids, was sold off piece-by-piece Saturday to make way for a brand new shopping experience.
The Frew Development Group is demolishing the mall this summer and rebuilding it as an outdoor shopping center. Manager Lisa Rowe said the first phase of new stores will likely open in the first half of 2015.
Now, however, the mall is virtually empty. Almost all of its stores moved out by April 1.
An auction Saturday gave the mall a chance to make some money on its remaining inventory - and the public a chance to snag a bargain.
Most people heading to a mall are looking for clothes and other retail goods, but Todd Cohenour and his friends had something else in mind Saturday morning.
"I want to see the mall the one last time, and I was hoping to get one of the benches," Cohenour said, as he headed into the Westdale Mall auction. "There's, like, 40 benches. I was hoping to get a bench for the house."
One by one, pieces that make up Westdale Mall found themselves under new ownership Saturday, as auctioneers sold everything from Christmas decor and chairs to music stands and fire extinguishers.
Not even empty stores were safe from the auction block. Tyler Oswood and his dad bid on and won one for $10. That makes them the proud owners of whatever they can strip away from the space.
"We re-do houses in town, so we saw the nice wood floors and picked up the whole contents for 10 bucks," Oswood said. "I don't know. Can you go wrong?"
Filled with empty stores and dim lighting, the mall-turned-ghost-town has an eerie feel.
Haley Carpenter grew up in this area of Cedar Rapids and said she remembers the mall's heyday - and has watched its slow decline.
"The last few years it's really been kind of sad," Carpenter said. "Even the parking lot's kinda deteriorated, and you're like, 'Wow, what's going to happen?' And it has sat in limbo for awhile, but now is the exciting part because they're going to make some changes."
"I'm looking forward to the new remodeling," Cohenour agreed. "That's going to be really good for Cedar Rapids and this side of town."
The auction stretched into Saturday afternoon, as bargain hunters bid farewell to the old Westdale Mall while carting home their new belongings.
"I got my number," Cohenour said, holding up his bidding slip. "I got a glass-top table for $5, and my wife doesn't even know it; It's going to be our new dining room table."
It seems one mall's trash is some man's treasure.
Rowe said Younkers and J.C. Penney are both open and will remain open throughout the construction.
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