MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Heritage Park Mall was once a thriving hub in Midwest City, but now it appears to be in a permanent state of disarray.
The city of Midwest City and the current owner of the property have been in and out of court for years over redevelopment plans and the state of the building.
Historically, the 650,000 square foot Heritage Park Mall opened in 1978 and was successful in subsequent decades before a changing economic and demographic landscape caused several stores to close.
The shopping mall shuttered completely in 2010 and has since fallen into significant disrepair; the majority of the facility is boarded up, littered with trash and other debris and portions also covered in graffiti.
In a phone conversation Thursday with KFOR, the owner of the multi-acre property other than a portion acquired by Life Church back in 2007, Ahmad Bahreini, said he is ready to redevelop as soon as he works things out with the Midwest City.
City records indicate that Mr. Bahreini indicated he purchased the mall as an investment and continues to market and maintain the mall.
While the property continues to languish is disrepair, members of the community said change is long overdue.
“I just grew up in this neighborhood and the mall used to be a convenient place to shop,” said longtime Oklahoman Dempsey Davenport.
“It was a great mall [and it] seemed like it would be here forever. I’m not really sure what took them all out.”
“People are feeling negative about the mall being closed,” added Tyler Mueller, who works across from Heritage Park, saying shopping requires local residents to go 20-30 minutes outside of the community.
“Nothing beats going to the mall you’re a teenager, when you’re young and with the family,” added local hip hop artist and writer L-Smooth Mensah.
Mensah grew up in Midwest City and said fond memories of the mall growing inspired him to write a song about the mall.
said even though the property is an eyesore, renovating the property could help the area.
“I used to always love coming here, and nothing beats going to a mall and kind of meeting your friends and hanging out with family,” he added.
“I just think it should be renovated; you know add some things to it. Something can be done with it, for the community.”
In a phone call with KFOR Thursday, Ahmad Bahreini said he’s ready to start redeveloping the space.
“I’m not against the city; if the city would work with me, I would like to go ahead and start working,” he added.
KFOR reached out to Midwest City on the status of the current project, but has not heard back yet.
The community believes that block just needs a chance to thrive.
“Whatever happens, it may help the value of the neighborhood,” said Davenport. “[Everytime] I’m driving by, [I’m] just thinking like, man, I know [the mall] can be something,” said Mensah.