Columbus and CRH to make offer for Fair Oaks Mall

The Fair Oaks Mall may have a new future. The city of Columbus is partnering with Columbus Regional Health and Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County to make an offer to purchase the more than 35 acre site for $5.9 million. Mayor Jim Lienhoop says the idea is to create an indoor sports complex and parks facilities.

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While the city wasn’t looking to buy the mall, Lienhoop says he wanted the city to be ready for a potential opportunity.

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Lienhoop talks about the city’s partnership with CRH…

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CRH officials say they are honored to have been asked to partner with the city. Kelsey DeClue, CRH spokeswoman, says the hospital is excited to be a part of this.

As for how CRH plans to utilize the facility…

Mayor Lienhoop says the current breakdown of costs is $4,087,500 for the city, $1,362,500 for CRH and $450,000 from Heritage Fund. A pair of appraisals on the property earlier this year established a value of $5.45 million. Lienhoop says that the mall owners were less than enthusiastic about that figure and stuck to the $5.9 million asking price. He says that since the city is pretty much bound to appraised values, the city asked Heritage Fund for a grant to cover the difference. Mayor Lienhoop adds that the hope is to close on the deal before the end of the year. Prior to that, he says there will be opportunities for input from the community.

As for businesses already in the mall, Lienhoop says the city plans to work with them on a case-by-case basis. He says how the process develops will largely depend on the terms of the leases. Regardless, Mayor Lienhoop says that businesses shouldn’t be displaced until 2020. While the hope is to close on the purchase before the end of the year, studies and public input sessions should keep the facility as is through the end of next year.