As malls and big-box stores die across America, our retail giants locally are falling victim to the same fate.

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After a recent assessment, the Town of Amherst valued the Boulevard mall at roughly $13.5 – a 59-percent cut according to NEWS 4 Buffalo (WIVB-TV).

“It’s really the story of a mall going through its last breath,” said town Supervisor Brian Kulpa. “If you grew up with the Boulevard Mall like I did, it’s tough to watch it sit empty.”

Kulpa said town officials have been long been preparing for what he referred to as  the “death of the Boulevard Mall,” and this recent assessment shows that time has arrived.

This all comes after well-known local developer and the site’s property owner Douglas Jemal challenged the value.

“It’s still a really low percentage off what the overall Amherst assessment evaluation is,” he said. “It’s not like it hurts us – it’s not going to use us tax-wise next year or anything. The tax rate is not going to go up because of it.”

There are big plans for the site’s future. In place of the former Boulevard Mall will be a mixed-use site that Kulpa said will look more like a downtown district although this development may take a decade to complete.

“The Boulevard Mall as we know it won’t exist,” he said. “[It will have] five to eight stories of residential or retail and complete streets – the type of development you’d see in an urban campus near any university.”

Boulevard Mall, as well as others in the area, may face the same fate as the Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield.

Hamburg town supervisor Jim Shaw said the McKinley Mall is also struggling to stay afloat in today's economy.

The town is also exploring new ways to bring more people to the mall including turning the site into an “incentive zone,” which allows developers to present plans that they think will generate money.

The purpose of this is to makes the mall more valuable by not limiting the property to commercial development, big-box retail stores. You can develop mixed-use shops and residences, or restaurants and theaters with the end result being mall properties being redeveloped and reimagined.

 

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