Rowan County mall due for a major makeover

$3 million plan to upgrade mall

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - A major makeover may soon be coming to a Rowan County mall.

The Salisbury Mall, now known as the West End Plaza, was purchased by Rowan County six years ago, and now major work needs to be done if the mall is to continue housing county offices and some retail stores.

Full of retail stores, the Salisbury Mall opened in the mid-1980’s. After about 15 years the mall began to struggle and many of the large anchor stores, like Belk and J.C. Penney, moved out.

Needing space for county services, Rowan County Commissioners approved the purchase of the mall for $3.4 million in 2013. The name was changed to the West End Plaza.

Some county offices, such as the Board of Elections and Veterans Services, moved in, and some retail stores like Bath & Body and Badcock Furniture, remained.

The former JC Penney location is now used often for special events like a twice a year gun and knife show and the annual antique show.

Now commissioners are considering a proposal that would see more offices moving here and make needed repairs to the building and grounds and bring provide a new home for more county services.

“The architects revealed the interior design plans for moving several departments to the Plaza,” said Rowan County Commission Chairman Greg Edds. "That’s fairly simple since they’ve been working with those department heads on walls and spacing plans that will meet their needs."

Commission Chairman Greg Edds said that the bigger challenge will be creating an exterior that gives the facility new life.

“The commissioners will work together in August to look at the proposed plans, available funding, and determine whether we move ahead with the full plan of proceed in stages,” Edds said.

According to a proposal from ADW Architects, moving several agricultural agencies and creating events space in an empty Belk’s department store would cost $10.62 million, with aesthetic and exterior improvements bringing the total to $18.93 million.

According to The Salisbury Post, those estimates do not include contingency costs; furniture, fixtures and equipment; designer fees; and owner soft costs. Architects said those represent another 20% — roughly $3.79 million — on top of their estimate.

UPDATE: Chairman Edds provided this comprehensive update on the plans for the mall:

ADW Architects, from Charlotte, has been working with multiple county departments to create new office space at the Plaza. The Cooperative Extension, Forestry Service, Soil & Water Conservation and the US Farm Service Agency would all be moved from a building they currently share with our Emergency Services Department on Old Concord Road and would set up residence in the West End Plaza where they would occupy close to 17,000 square feet of new office space. They will join the Board of Elections and Veterans’ Services who are already located there.

Our Emergency Services department will then be able to expand into the space vacated by the newly-relocated departments.

In addition to creating new office space for these 4 departments, the proposed plan recommends that 1/2 of the former Belk building be remodeled for modern, high tech meeting and conference space, combining uses as an Ag Center and other community events.

The plan also contemplates renovations to the outside of the old mall, including reconfiguring the parking lot for safety reasons.

This is a big step. As we’ve been paying off debt, we’ve been setting funds aside to go toward this renovation project. Now, we’ll take a deep breath, gather all the facts and decide in the coming months on how to proceed.

This is part of the long-range plan to create badly-needed county department office space and facilities but it also provides us with an opportunity to create a dual-use space for the Agriculture Department and also provide modern conference and meeting facilities for our community.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.