The Ottumwa Courier

Opinion

June 16, 2012

Mall's future looks bright

Our Opinion

OTTUMWA — By the time Quincy Place Mall’s new owner was done talking, he had us convinced: The mall will be viable and active again.

Elected officials, media folk and business people met with Alan Retkinski, visiting Ottumwa from his New York real estate company. And according to Retkinski, we’ll be seeing a lot more of him and his representatives. Someone will be out to Ottumwa every few weeks to keep the mall moving in the right direction.

But he’s willing to listen, too.

When the New Yorker finished his presentation earlier this week, he said wanted to hear ideas from the community. He and his staff aren’t the kind of “snobby New Yorker” folks may see stereotyped on TV, he said.

But also as a New Yorker, he said he can recognize two different types of “friendly.”

“People here are friendly, and they don’t want anything from me. In [the Northeast] if someone is too friendly, we say, [guard] your wallet.”

Can Ottumwa support a thriving downtown and a revitalized Quincy Place Mall? We think so. When consumers have more choices, they’re more likely to visit — and isn’t variety part of the reason shoppers head to the big cities?

The general consensus among those people who promote business and economic development in Wapello County was that Retkinski is sincere and capable of doing what he’s done in three other Midwest cities: Waking up malls with low occupancy.

“I’ll build, you shop,” he said this week.

Maybe that’s the message we should all share about Ottumwa — telling our neighbors we’ve got some things here that are worth coming to see.

The new owners said they’re serious about wanting to hear what area residents would like to see at the mall or any other suggestions. If you have ideas, email the mall manager at info@thequincyplacemall. Or, if you want to make a suggestion right to the new mall owner, email info@lexingtonco.com.

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