Union City officials are ready to change that.
Tonight, the city is hosting a public workshop to get residents’ input on what could be done to improve the mall site in order to make it more useful and appealing to residents. In turn, these improvements are hoped to make the site more attractive to buyers or developers.
Union City Program Manager Shayla Harris said it is essentially a marketing study that is being conducted by the city, using a Livable Centers Initiative grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission.
“It’s a site that kind of hasn’t been as successful as it has been in the past,” Harris said. “That grant is so you can redevelop the land.”
The city will also be studying whether the site should be rezoned from a regional shopping center to possibly mixed use, such as commercial and residential, or office space or even small industrial.
The study will also take a look at traffic and transportation in the area to see whether any changes can be made to make the site more accessible or turn it into a hub.
One idea is to take the South Fulton Park and Ride, which is for GRTA and MARTA riders, and move it from its Flat Shoals Road exit one mile up from the mall exit on Interstate 85 to the mall exit.
“Our vision would be if you’re going to use park and ride, while waiting for transportation, you can utilize some of the services of the mall,” Harris said.
Since the park and ride lot is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation, representatives from the entity make up a portion of the stakeholders group that will help coordinate the plans.
The city of Union City may find itself chipping in financially to the improvement of the area, as well.
The city owns Mall Boulevard, which is the access road to the mall, and if transportation improvements are recommended on the road, the city will foot the bill, Harris said.
However, the Atlanta-based engineering and consulting firm AMEC, which is conducting the study, will help the city find funds in order to make any recommended improvements.
Once the study is complete in April, it will be presented to the three separate owners of the mall — Sears, Macy’s and a California-based bank, all whom have been trying to sell their properties — in the hopes they will cooperate with any improvements in order to make their sale a reality, Harris said.
“We’re hoping that one person will purchase all three,” she said.
Resident input is vital, and all are invited to the public workshop today at 7 p.m. at the Etris Center, 5285 Lakeside Drive in Union City.