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New Westgate Mall stores, a nearby renovated movie theatre, free WiFi, a national chain restaurant. What’s not to like about the vision articulated last week by the new owners of the Westgate Mall?


Alan Retinski and Alex Schleider, who formed Westgate Mall Realty Group, pledged to breath new life into a mall that admittedly had seen livelier days. They cited research that indicates that enclosed malls, once considered to be retail dinosaurs, actually fared better than strip malls in the last three years. Enclosed malls, they claim, just make sense in northern climates where the cold winds blow and snow piles up.

Their upbeat plans for the future are a welcome sound to the ears of a community that has seen its share of economic challenges in recent years. If the mall expands as planned, it could be one helpful sign that the area economy is at last making a solid rebound. We welcome the new owners and wish them good luck with their plans.

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
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