KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There was a time when it was nearly impossible to find a parking spot at Metro North Mall during the holidays. Now only a handful of stores are open, and the mall is surrounded by acres of empty parking spots.
But officials say that the mall is a step closer to being revitalized, and they say that in just three years time the mall will be bustling once again.
"If it's Christmas time, you couldn't get near it. You were lucky to find a parking spot," said KCMO councilman Ed Ford. He says that in 2010, developer MD Management, Inc. announced plans to breathe new life into the mall - but the plan hit a snag.
The Dillards store was the only piece of land at the mall that MD Management didn't own, and the property's owner, ZR Metro LLC, was reluctant to sell.
"That set us back about 18 months," said Ford. Eventually a judge's ruling allowed the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority to condemn the Dillard's building, paving the way for redevelopment.
Now, officials say that they are ready to move on to the next phase.
"Metro North and Antioch are right in the middle of our older neighborhoods, and are as important at Zona Rosa is," said Deb Herman, Northland Neighborhoods Inc. CEO. "It's important that we have shopping areas near our older neighborhoods."
The redeveloped Metro North will be slightly smaller in size, and will include more retail stores and living space. Macy's will remain, but it's still unclear at this time what other retailers will be there.
Ford anticipates that plans to move forward will be announced in the spring.