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Editorial: A magnificent mall?

Considering all the negative news about the Northland Mall property over the last several months — the last few years, actually — it’s hard not to be downright excited about this week’s developments.

It’s also easy to be a little cynical, too, but we’ll aim to be as positive as possible, considering the blighted Oxford Street property can’t get much worse than it is now.

The Worthington City Council’s decision Monday night to enter into negotiations with PBK Investments of Minnetonka so that PBK becomes the mall’s new developer is exciting on its own. After all, it represents the mall being free from an absentee landlord that has let a depreciating property become even more unattractive.

Upon examining the new developer’s plans for the mall, the news looks even better. Said Brian Pellowski, the owner of PBK Investments, on Monday night: “In the front part of Oxford Street would be the general retail with smaller outbuildings for small tenants. There would be some medium-boxed industries, such as Michael’s Crafts and possibly a pet store, and then the movie theater would be on the other side where Kmart currently is.” Pellowski also described the creation of a more open-space mall, as well as potential new apartments and other housing in the back part of the mall addition.

Bringing both new business and new housing to Worthington, obviously, would be a huge boost to a city that, as a regional center intersecting with three major highways (Interstate 90, Minnesota 60 and U.S. 59), is a prime spot for all kinds of growth opportunities. There are likely many local folks, though, who will recall the mall’s current owner promising big improvements at the site upon his purchase of the property, only to be met with what we’ll politely call significant disappointment.

The PBK plan seems different, though, as it incorporates multiple facets into its overall development vision. At this point, we think the best attitude we can take is one of enthusiasm and optimism. We as a community should collectively welcome this opportunity to improve the place we call home.