Columbus buying shopping mall to make it recreational/tourism complex

An Indiana city council is contributing more than $4 million toward a $5.9 million acquisition of a shopping mall that it plans to convert into a community recreational and sports tourism complex.

The Columbus City Council last week voted 6-0 to approve the funding for the purchase of the Fair Oaks Mall in a transaction scheduled to close Dec. 14.

The city is partnering with Columbus Regional Hospital and the Heritage Fund/The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County on the purchase. The hospital will contribute nearly $1.4 million and the Heritage Fund will provide $450,000, The Republic of Columbus reported.

The 35-acre property, which opened in 1990, has lost anchor tenants J.C. Penney and Carson’s over the past 13 months. The mall still has 18 tenants, including Dunham Sports, Bath & Body Works and Payless Shoes. The city said tenant leases will continue to be honored.

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop said the city needs to hire a consultant to develop an overall master plan for the mall.

City Councilman Tom Dell says the redeveloped mall could help attract people to live in the community.

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