Contrary to dramatic development plans announced in May 2018, the death knell has not yet rung for Chauncey Hill Mall.
The Exponent and WLFI-TV News 18 reported last year that development company Trinitas Ventures planned to redevelop the strip mall. The construction was reportedly going to begin around this summer, giving local businesses time to relocate before demolition began.
Since then, Jake’s Roadhouse closed, the Discount Den bought a new location just east of Mackey Arena and the city hasn’t heard back from Trinitas for the better part of six months.
West Lafayette Director of Development Erik Carlson said in a phone interview the last time the city had contact with Trinitas, the company proposed a plan that would include adding more student beds to the downtown area. The city denied this plan. Carlson has not received communication from the company since.
“They would not be allowed to demolish (the Mall without a plan),” he said.
Trinitas has to create a plan the city and Area Planning Commission will approve of, present it to the city and wait for that plan to be approved — a months-long process — before starting any project on the Mall.
The standard for the planning documents is similar to construction documents, Carlson said, and should include details like the square footage of various features and number of room keys if facilities such as a hotel were created.
The APC vetoed Trinitas’ original plan after the company proposed creating more residential space for students, a near-common idea for West Lafayette considering the many high-rise apartments now towering over downtown. Carlson said the city plans to see how the new apartment complexes fare before OK-ing another student-living project to keep from over-saturating the already crowded market for student housing.
Trinitas Senior Vice President for Development Aaron Bartels did not respond to requests for comment.
Until a better plan is proposed to the APC, Chauncey Hill Mall is here to stay. While this does allow students to visit the stores that have been around for decades, businesses are left in limbo over their futures in West Lafayette.
The Den had planned to be completely relocated to their new location at 616 W. Stadium Ave. by Boiler Gold Rush, but the proposals of Trinitas delayed those plans. Co-owners of the shop haven’t responded to The Exponent’s request for immediate comment on when the store will relocate, but the store responded to a comment on its Instagram page noting that the Den will move “Sometime this Fall! Exact date TBD!”