Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com)

ST. ANN (KMOX) – A sledgehammer, swung by a smiling St. Ann Mayor, marked the beginning of the end for Northwest Plaza.

A redevelopment of the site into a mixed-use, open-air center known as The Crossings at Northwest will begin construction in early 2013.

What was once billed as one of the nation’s premiere enclosed shopping malls closed its doors in 2010 after years of declining vacancy and high-profile instances of violent crime.

This is the third time a make-over has been proposed for the site. The previous two efforts were unsuccessful in securing financing and tenants. The site was foreclosed upon in 2009. A local company, Raven Development, now owns the 122-acre property and is leading this try and re-making the empty mall.

Menards, so far, is the only retailer that’s been publicly named, although leaders reassure that other potential tenants are negotiating and their identities will likely all be revealed all at once, in an announcement within several months.

Mayor Corcoran vows that crime won’t encroach again.

“We are going to have a high presence of our police department, without a doubt,” he told KMOX before the groundbreaking on Tuesday. “We want it to be more family-oriented, and to do that people have to feel safe.”

The mall’s office tower will be rehabbed and it’s anticipated that the site may also include a data center, call center, technical college and/or an assisted living center.

KMOX © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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