In February, the previous management of West Ridge Mall, Washington Prime Group, announced plans to allow banks to foreclose on the shopping center.
Now, new management is stepping in.
A Shawnee Co. District Court judge appointed the Texas-based Woodmont Company to take over management of the West Ridge Mall.
"The turnaround starts with improving the tenant sales,” Fred Meno, president and CEO of asset services for Woodmont Company, said, “That's the amount of business each is doing at their cash register."
To increase cash flow, the Woodmont Company is first focusing on getting customers through the front door.
"Once they get there, they do spend money,” Meno said. “We have to market a project like this to both local and temporary-type tenants."
Meno says entertainment will be a focus.
"I would like to be able to bring a movie theater in, that's always a major first-tier catalyst of entertainment that we try to bring in,” Meno said.
“Certainly improving the food offering, every type of entertainment concept that isn't represented in the trade area — whether that's bowling, whether that's roller skating, whether that's ice skating, whether it's rock climbing, whether it's escape rooms, all of those things."
He also said they'll look at non-retail tenants including medical and office users.
It's a formula crafted from experience. Woodmont has worked on notable Kansas shopping projects including the Legends in Kansas City, Central Mall in Salina, and shopping centers in Wichita and Olathe.
"We consider this a prestigious property,” Meno said. “We operate over 18-million square feet around the country, we're in 24 states, half our portfolio is in close, regional malls, so we like to consider ourselves the mall doctors."
The West Ridge Mall took a big hit when it lost major national retailers like Sears and Burlington Coat Factory, but Woodmont tells 13 NEWS they have plans in the works to bring in what they say are new big-name stores.
"Right now, we're in the process of doing a void analysis to determine which typical retailers are not in the market right now that fit the demographic profile of the Topeka shopper," Meno said.
13 NEWS spoke to the Greater Topeka Partnership this afternoon. They told us they're looking forward to working with the new management company.