By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
In an effort to attract more businesses to the Holiday Village Shopping Center, three parcels of land on the mall's parking lot will be offered for sale.
During a meeting Tuesday, the Hill County Commission approved a request by mall manager Tiffany Korb to subdivide the parking lot, creating three pieces of land that could be deeded and sold to developers.
The three parcels - .69, 1 and 1.4 acres in size - would likely be used to construct businesses around the mall, Korb said. Businesses that might be interested in the properties could include restaurants and gas stations, she said.
No businesses have immediate plans to develop the property, Korb said.
"We're preparing in the event that someone is interested," she said.
Randy Gans, a spokesman for Security National Properties, the company that owns Holiday Village, said the subdivision was an effort to make better use of the resources available to the mall.
"The front part of the parking area is underutilized," he said. "We're trying to set ourselves up for the future."
Korb said the recent addition of two large anchor stores to the mall's list of businesses will make the new parcels more attractive to developers.
"Absolutely it will be more attractive, and hopefully we'll have more interest" in the property, Korb said.
Two of the largest spots in the mall that were left vacant by store closures in the 1990s have been filled in the last two months. Both Bi-Mart, a discount club store, and Big R, a farm and ranch supply and clothing store, have moved into the mall.
With the openings of those two businesses, 89 percent of the mall's selling space is filled, Korb said.
The new additions have brought a new vigor to a once stagnant shopping center, she said during Tuesday's meeting with the county commissioners
"The parking lot is actually full," she said. "We've even had people complain they have to park too far away. We're starting to look like a real mall again."
After reviewing a plat of the proposed subdivision and discussing the project with Gans, Korb and county planner Clay Vincent, the commission approved the project.
The signature of County Commission chair Pat Conway was not the only one Korb needed. Because the subdivision is within 3 miles of the Havre city limits, law required Korb to also get approval from Mayor Bob Rice.
Rice said today that both he and city clerk Lowell Swenson signed the plat.
The last signature Korb needs before the subdivision is finalized is from County Treasurer Carrie Dickson. The subdivision cannot be approved until the mall pays in full the property taxes for this year. Taxes bills went out on Saturday.
The taxes will be paid immediately, Korb said.
"The check is in the mail," she said. "Once that's paid, it's a done deal."