David Callanan (L) and Cody Foster (R), co-founders at Advisors Excel, at the company's new property.
Financial investment firm Advisors Excel has acquired a new property in its home market of Topeka, Kan., with plans of transitioning the mall into a mixed-use center.
West Ridge Mall, the third-largest enclosed shopping mall in Kansas, will soon become a mixed-use lifestyle facility with dining, event, entertainment, green and corporate spaces. The 992,000-sq.-ft. property will become Advisors Excel’s headquarters once completed, accommodating more than 500 employees. Details of the acquisition, which were finalized in September, were not made public.
West Ridge Mall, located at 1801 SW Wanamaker Rd. in Kansas’s capital city, originally opened in 1988. The center’s anchor department stores Macy’s and Sears closed their doors in 2012 and 2018, respectively. The mall’s current major tenants include JCPenney, Dillards, Furniture Mall of Kansas, Petland and SkyZone.
In 2021, the mall’s occupancy rate dropped to 39%. To reverse this decline, the revitalized West Ridge Mall will feature a “fresh, urban design and layout,” and will incorporate non-traditional mall uses such as co-working spaces, theaters, fitness spaces, spas, breweries and cafes.
“Contrary to popular belief, the American mall is not dead,” said Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel. “It simply needs a facelift, which is our exact mission with this project. Developers are looking to shift shopping centers to a multi-purpose lifestyle hub, incorporating leisure offerings and getting people in the door again, whether they are consumers, tenants or professionals.”
The West Ridge Mall development is currently in its initial stages, with Advisors Excel working to retain all current mall employees and management during the transition. The company has developed and led several projects in the Topeka area, including renovating the Henderson Learning Resources Center at Washburn University.
“As retail and workspace expectations evolve, the 21st-century mall holds the potential to offer dynamic mixed-use spaces that include lifestyle amenities and office space options sought after by young professionals," said Molly Howey, president of GO Topeka, the city’s economic development group. "This project represents a crucial step for Topeka to further cultivate a multifaceted lifestyle experience catering to diverse demographics. Moreover, local ownership ensures a customized approach tailored to our community's unique needs."