An Irondale shopping center that has seen business after business move out since its anchor store, Walmart, left years ago is the latest project for a Canadian businessman.
Mark Gold is investing in Grants Mill Station with hopes of revitilizing the struggling strip mall. Currently there are only about three businesses operating out of the mall. Gold says that soon will change.
"Irondale is going to be a really big exciting shopping center," Gold said.
Along with shops and restaurants, Gold says the mall will have an outodoor zipline course and a dog park.
"One for smaller dogs and another for bigger dogs. There will be an area for competitions and different dog activities," he said.
Gold says the mall will be remodeled after an old train station and will have actual train set up in the center of the mall's parking lot.
"Between the engine and the train, each one will have different businesses. One will be a restaurant and another one a shopping center," Gold said.
The city of Irondale is onboard, working with Gold to build the dog park and setting up several city department offices in the mall including the police department's detective division and the water department.
Irondale residents like Helen Poe, who has lived in the city for 20 years, are ready to see the area bounce back.
"A lot of businesses have moved out. We really don't have many sit-down restaurants," Poe said.
Despite the area's recent downturn, Gold says he's willing to invest in Irondale because of the city's low crime rate and proximity to I-20.
"I really believe in this area coming back. I think it's the best investment," Gold said.
As for the exact amount of that investment, Gold won't disclose how much the project costs but says it is in the millions. This isn't the only development he has been working on. He has also taken over the Festival Center in the Crestwood area. When he started the project it was 50 percent vacant. He says now it is now almost 100 percent full.
Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive