A survey of asbestos in the Woodville Mall, which would be an initial step in the demolition process of the deteriorating retail structure, is being scheduled for this week according to the mall’s former general manager.
Juanita Jones, who’s told Northwood city officials she is representing the new owner of the mall for the demolition, said she’s received bids from two companies for demolishing the mall and was expecting a third bid this week.
During a Jan. 24 town hall meeting, Jones told city council and Mayor Mark Stoner the mall “is coming down” when asked about the owner’s plans.
Bob Anderson, city administrator, said the owner would need a demolition permit from the city and would have to post a bond before razing could start. As of last week, no one has applied for a permit, he said.
A permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency would be needed to remove asbestos.
The city filed a lawsuit Jan. 17 against Soleyman Ghalchi, of Great Neck, New York, who bought the mall for $800,000 in December, and the seller, Mehran Kohansieh, of Little Neck, New York. The complaint is for nuisance abatement and the removal of buildings and contends the structure is in violation of fire regulations and health department codes.
Northwood Police Chief Tom Cairl last week said Jones has had glass doors and windows boarded up and weeds and debris removed.
“That is greatly appreciated,” he said, adding the building had been a target for vandals and metal scrappers.
Except for a Sears store, which remains as one of three anchor stores, and the Andersons, which closed recently, the mall has been vacant for more than a year.
Jones told a packed council chambers during the town hall meeting the new owner is open to ideas for re-developing the site, including a strip mall between the Sears store and former Andersons site.
City officials were skeptical and said the lawsuit would proceed. Residents attending the meeting complained of vandalism and roofing material blowing into their yards from the mall. They were also concerned about flooding of retention ponds which collect water from the parking lot.
Anderson last week said the city would keep the pressure on the owner to proceed with the demolition.
Jones, in an email message to The Press, said she has received calls from two “major companies wanting to build on the property as soon as it is torn down.”