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COLUMBUS,OH-The former City Center mall site will be transformed into a 8.9-acre mixed-use development by Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. The project was announced Wednesday afternoon at a press conference in Columbia.

Stage one of Columbus Commons, as the project has been dubbed, will be the total leveling of the mall. The City Center Mall, which opened in 1989, now has only eight tenants, of an initial 100. Capitol South has given the businesses 30 days to vacate the property. Demolition is expected to begin in 90 days.

“We are starting with a clean and green slate for this site, which is unusual in the development world, but the perfect solution for this site,” said Guy Worley, CEO of Capitol South.

By 2010, the site will be a park with common areas and seating that resembles New York City’s Bryant Park, according to Capitol South executives. This first phase is estimated to cost up to $20 million, a figure that includes demolition of the mall and redevelopment of the space into green space. Additional private investment, of up to $100 million, is anticipated.

“This is a transformative announcement for downtown and all of Columbus,” said Mayor Michael Coleman, at the press conference. “Turning a closed, empty bunker into a public gathering place and mixed-use development will serve as a catalyst for economic growth while improving the quality of life for people who live and work downtown.”

The overall vision for the space is to create a downtown neighborhood that will have residential units, retail and office space as well as entertainment venues. Phase two will focus on residential and retail venues while the third phase will include office space as well. There is no solid timeline currently in place regarding the completion of the project. It is expected that in the next 5 to 10 years mixed-use development will occur, but much of that will be market driven.

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