Days numbered for Holiday Plaza Mall

Longtime West Memphis shopping center in bad shape

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

“This has been informally discussed for a long time,” said West Memphis City Planner Paul Luker, “but we haven’t heard anything official.” But word is out to the tenants at the Holiday Plaza Mall — much of it will soon be torn down. The mall opened in 1960 and was among the first in the south to offer an air-conditioned retreat for shoppers. One remaining original tenant is still open for business, the barber shop in the southwest wing of the mall, now operated by Jerry Simpson. Simpson took over the location 25 years ago and seen shopping traffic decline as maintenance issues and vacancies have increased. The mall still has its patrons. Some people use the hallways for a walking track despite the leaky roof and the need to dodge kiddie-pools and puddles in the concourse. The walkers were out Wednesday as the barber joked about not having any specifics about the project. “They said if I stayed here long enough that one day it would fall down around me,” said Simpson. Randy Catt of Guaranty Loan & Real Estate confirmed the end is near. Plans are to keep the shops along the east side. The Dollar Tree, Aaron’s Rentals, and City Trends, will survive the wrecking ball, but the rest of the mall will be torn down. Catt shared some details and said he is working with existing renters. “The mall will be torn down starting about October,” said Catt, “except the dress shops and the Dollar Tree. We’ll keep that whole east side. We will work around Victory Church. They will be moving in the fall.” Commercial real estate salesman Don Bell is a member at Victory Church and confirmed things from the church’s point of view. “We will be moving,” said Bell. “We are breaking ground near Angel’s Way in Marion as soon as the weather breaks. We have 30 acres there. We hope to be in there for Christmas. They told our pastor, Michael Smith, they’d work with us.” What’s next? Redevelopment plans are down the road. “We are looking at strip centers,” said Catt. Attorney Sheila Campbell currently has offices in the plaza. She said she was told last month to be ready to move and thinks clients will be able to follow her to a new address. “They are going to raze this within the year,” said Campbell. “They said I’d have a place straight across Shoppingway in the strip center where the Social Security Office is. It won’t be hard for clients to find me.”

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