A Zombie Mall Gets a New Lease on Life
Affordable housing is planned for the former Four Seasons Mall site in Plymouth. Photos courtesy of BKV Group

A Zombie Mall Gets a New Lease on Life

A $130 million affordable housing project is set to replace a long-vacant Plymouth retail center.

The abandoned Four Seasons Mall in Plymouth looks like it would make a good backdrop for a zombie movie. But zombie time is running out. It will be razed for housing in 2021.

The strip mall has been empty for 10 years—a good run for a zombie mall—and much of the old signage is still up for Fresh & Natural Foods and a Curves. Pull up to the site and you’ll draw the attention of a security guard.

Arkansas-based Walmart paid $10.6 million for the land near the intersection of Highway 169 and Rockford Road in 2010 with hopes of building a SuperCenter. But the city didn’t like the idea of a big box. Walmart put it up for sale in 2015.

“The traffic would have been problematic in that area,” says Jim Barnes, manager for Plymouth’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority. There’s a fair amount of retail anchored by a Cub Foods on the other side of Rockford Road.

In 2016, Maple Grove-based Rock Hill Management surfaced with a mixed-use plan calling for two hotels, senior housing, and a mix of retail and office space.

“They could never get it financed,” says Barnes.

Now Plymouth-based Dominium has the green light from the city to develop a $130 million affordable housing project. It will include one senior housing building with 268 units and two buildings with 162 family-sized units. Dominium would sell part of the site to the city, which plans a park-and-ride ramp and other parcels for small retail projects. Dominium’s financing depends on the state awarding housing revenue bonds.

“Just with the timing of the financing we’ll likely be able to break ground and close in March,” says Logan Schmidt, development associate with Dominium. “The city wants to see something happen with that site. It’s kind of the front door of Plymouth.”

Read more from this issue

The site, which has soil issues and a wetland, has been a tough sell. Besides Walmart and Rock Hill, the city saw no other concrete proposals over the years. 

This story appears in the Dec. 2020/Jan. 2021 issue with the title “The 40th Season.”