So we learned this week that Westgate Mall will be demolished, and 35 businesses must now find a new place to live, and several mall employees will be out of a job. And the owner of the building says that there are no plans to build anything on the site – it will simply be left as a huge empty lot.
OK, I don’t know a lot about commercial real estate and tax breaks and such – but surely there’s SOMETHING that could be done, right? Here’s two ideas that have popped into my head:
– Would it be possible to turn Westgate Mall into a new animal shelter for Great Falls? Would it be cheaper for the folks that are working to build the new animal shelter to instead buy or lease Westgate Mall? It’s got more than enough room for shelter operations, is more easily accessible than the existing shelter (and site of the new shelter), has plenty of empty surrounding space to allow for outdoor activities, etc.
– Can the current tenants of Westgate Mall band together – maybe with some assistance from the Great Falls Development Authority or some such agency – and purchase the property, or otherwise make arrangements to keep the mall operating?
I don’t know how feasible either of these ideas are – but maybe worth considering.