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Westgate Mall development plans could include housing, restaurants

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MADISON (WKOW) -- For decades, Westgate Mall has been a fixture on Madison's west side.

A local developer plans to buy the land from Hyvee, and transform the corner.

"There's obviously a lot of nostalgia related to that mall, a lot of people grew up and that's where they went," said Jacob Klein, president of JT Klein Company. "But I think what we put there is going to create a new neighborhood and put some life into something that's been an eyesore for a while now."

Klein said that the buildings have a lot of water damage from the flooding of 2018, making them not feasible to repair.

"There's like, a river [of] baseball cards running through the building," he said. "And there's just general stormwater issues."

With that in mind, Klein said they are hoping to do a project that combines housing, commercial business, and restaurants.

"We're looking to create really a transit-oriented development where people can, you know, live, work and play," he said.

Chamber of Commerce president Zach Brandon told 27 News that retail habits have changed over the years, and the area is ripe for development. It's also in a good location close to the Beltline, with close proximity to public transportation and many businesses coming out of the Research Park.

"People with vision have seen that," he said.

With the redevelopment plans in the works to make the area mixed-use, Brandon said this is an opportunity to make it a walkable destination, as opposed to somewhere people expect to drive.

"I think it will actually draw the neighborhood into the economic development that's occurring there and create a nice mixed-use blend," he said. "It's a great opportunity to change the vehicular destination to be something ped/bike-friendly."

Klein said they are "one-hundred percent" committed to the project and hope to demolish the site by the end of the summer.

There are plans to have a neighborhood input meeting at the end of January. Time and place are still to be determined.

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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