MASON CITY, Iowa – Plans to transform Southbridge Mall into a gigantic family entertainment hub got initial support Tuesday night from the Mason City City Council.
David Rachie of Gatehouse Capital, who are also building a new hotel and convention center next to the mall, told the Council they’ve decided to purchase the mall itself. Rachie says they realized it wouldn’t do the hotel project any good to have a dead mall behind it. He says Gatehouse expects to finalize purchase of the mall within 90 days.
Rachie praises Southbridge Mall as being very successful for several decades but says it needs to be repurposed to fit a changing economy. Gatehouse’s plan for the mall would keep the few retail locations that remain and reopen the movie theater while adding a bar and sports hall of fame involving Iowa Hawkeye broadcaster Gary Dolphin, a brewery/beer garden, a pizza place, a comedy bar, a bowling alley, go-kart tracks, golf simulators, and an arcade.
The Council voted Tuesday night to set a June 1st public hearing on amending the Mason City Downtown Reinvestment Urban Renewal Plan to accommodate the Gatehouse mall project.