By Mayor Pete Aguilar
One of the top priorities for the Council and City staff has been economic development. A number of initiatives are already in the works or in place and some are already bringing results. New businesses have opened their doors and some existing businesses are preparing for expansion.
But with the positive news in economic development, there is one elephant in the room, or in this case, in the City’s downtown – the Redlands Mall. With the notable exception of CVS and a few outlying buildings, the mall has stood empty for more than a year, seemingly a prime location for economic growth.
One of the most frequent questions my Council colleagues and I receive is, why hasn’t the City done something about the Redlands Mall? The following Q&A might help explain some of the complex issues the City wrestles with in dealing with this issue.
Does the City own the Redlands Mall?
No. The mall is owned by Howard Hughes Corporation, a real estate development company based inDallas,Texas.
Does the City own the parking lot?
Yes. The city owns the parking lot surrounding the mall, the underground parking, and the parking lot to the southeast of the mall.
What businesses are located at the mall?
CVS is located at the east end of the mall and a Denny’s, Banner Mattress, and Union Bank are in a building on the northeast corner of the mall. The rest of the mall is vacant.
What are Howard Hughes Corporation’s plans for the mall?
There are no plans to sell or develop the mall according to company officials. Howard Hughes has not submitted any proposals to the City or provided the City a proposed timeline.
Is the Howard Hughes Corporation willing to entertain opportunities for additional tenants at the mall?
The City has provided potential tenant opportunities to Howard Hughes, but no development ensued.
Can the City or a private company purchase the mall?
There have been numerous offers to purchase the mall, but Howard Hughes Corporation insists that the Mall is not for sale.
Can the City condemn the mall?
Under the laws governing eminent domain, the City could only condemn the property for a public use.
What are the City’s long term plans regarding the mall?
The City has engaged a real estate advisory firm to initiate development strategies to develop the City’s interest in the mall.
Rest assured that the City Council and City staff will continue to explore every avenue available to us to move the Redlands Mall property toward productive use. In the meantime, staff has been diligent in requiring the mall’s owners to maintain the property, requiring attractive screens at the shuttered entrances, keeping the property free of debris and graffiti and maintaining the landscape.
If you have additional questions or need further information, please feel free to contact Michael Lengyel, Economic Development Director, with the City of Redlands Development Services Department at (909) 335-4755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.