Demolition begins on parking deck on north side of Southwest Plaza

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Amusement center moving into space formerly occupied by Dillard’s

By Michael Sakas

Southwest Plaza mall has begun demolishing the parking deck on the north end of the shopping center, between JCPenney and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“We are taking down the parking garage in order to accommodate a deal we did for the level beneath the Dick’s Sporting Goods,” said Greg Sims, the mall’s general manager. “The parking deck was an obstruction to visibility and line of sight; we had the opportunity to take it down without it hurting our parking-lot ratios, and since we have a tenant ready to go in there, already signed a lease, we are moving forward with the demolition of the parking deck.”

As Sims explains, the parking deck was originally built at the request of JCPenney and Dillard’s, which once occupied both the first and the second level, where Dick’s Sporting Goods is now.  

“The lower level has been vacant for a while, and we’ve had a difficult time leasing it out or getting anyone interested, because you couldn’t see it,” Sims said. “The parking deck blocked it.”

The new business moving into the first level is Round One Entertainment, an amusement center chain based out of Japan. It will feature bowling, karaoke and arcade games, and will include food service.

“We’re excited about that. They’re taking all 65,000 square feet,” Sims said. “And we’re hoping to have them open by fourth quarter; there’s a lot of work to do in that space. The parking garage is actually the easy part.”

The parking deck will not be replaced.

“When we’re done taking it down, we will redo the parking lot surface, so it’ll be parking on grade, if you will, like the rest of the parking lot,” Sims said. “We’ll be doing a little bit of landscaping, putting back lighting, etc.”

Southwest Plaza recently competed a $75 million renovation project, but removing the parking deck is a separate project. The demolition began May 20.

“We’re just getting started; we’re about 20 percent with the takedown, at most. It’ll be up throughout the summer,” Sims said.

The goal is to have the parking structure diminished in the next 60 days. Mall customers should expect little disturbance from the project.

“The only real detour for the customer is, you no longer can access the upper-level JCPenney from the outside,” Sims said. “And right underneath it they had an entry on the northeast side of their building, that’s inaccessible right now as we do the demo.”

The upper-level JCPenney entrance from the outside will not reopen, he said.