Study: Keeping old mall would save county $14 million

Study: Keeping old mall would save county $14 million

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The long awaited Master Plan that would present options for the West End Plaza made its public debut on Monday during the meeting of the Rowan County Commissioners, and it reached the conclusion that keeping the old Salisbury Mall would potentially save $14 million.

The plan was created by ADW architects. There were three options presented, one without the mall, and two using the mall as a way to help the county's space needs issue.

The architects concluded that the mall was in good shape for a thirty year old structure, and that the county would come out better by keeping it.

A company called Terracon evaluated the building and reached the conclusion that there is "no evidence of significant corrosion, excessive deflections, warping, broken connections, etc. that may be indicative of systematic deficiencies associated with the design or construction of the facility was observed. In general, the loads for this class of structure are relatively low and the structural systems and details observed are consistent with the expected structural demand."

The plan can be seen in its entirety on the Rowan County website.

It includes several pages of photographs of areas that need work and there are specific recommendations on what needs to be fixed, including concrete canopy work and reinforcing steel plates on the roof.

As far as costs go, the Master Plan concludes that by relocating some county departments and making repairs and improvements to the mall, the county would save $14 million over the option of not using the mall.

Eight departments, including Social Services, the Board of Elections, Health Department, Veterans Services, and others would move to the mall and "flex space" would still be used for commercial business locations. The Rowan Sheriff's Office would be moved to what is now the Rowan County Health Department and Social Services building on E. Innes Street.

The total cost of that option would be $27,583,000, which includes $6,318,000 in relocation costs and $21,265,000 in improvements to the old mall.

Using the option without the mall, the ADW architects made the recommendation of building a new Rowan Sheriff's Office for a cost of $26 million, and build a new location for the Health Department at a cost of more than $8 million.

The option presented without the mall came up with a total cost of $41,429,000. The most expensive item on that list would be the construction of a new Sheriff's Office for $25,950,000, and a new Health Department for $8,665,000.

On Tuesday morning, Rowan County Commissioner Greg Edds told WBTV what the next step would be for commissioners:

"The Commissioners will take a couple of weeks to study the 136 page plan then determine where to begin and at what pace," Edds told WBTV. "What became evident by the work of the architects was that the mall would save the taxpayers roughly $18 million dollars in facilities costs and still give us additional flexibility to pursue some exciting economic development, workforce training, educational and community gathering spaces that would not otherwise be financially feasible."

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