Financial services company will revitalize Kansas' third-largest enclosed mall to serve as the company HQ and will include entertainment, retail, dining, corporate and green space
TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- GO Topeka, the economic development group for Kansas' capital city, has announced that Advisors Excel has acquired the West Ridge Mall and will establish it into a new mixed-use, lifestyle facility with dining, event, entertainment, green and corporate spaces. Advisors Excel is a Topeka, Kan.-based financial and investment services company that achieved a total production of $12.2 billion in 2022. Once operational, the converted West Ridge Mall—the third-largest enclosed mall in Kansas with 992,000 square feet—will be the company's headquarters, accommodating over 500 employees.
"Contrary to popular belief, the American mall is not dead," said Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel. "It simply needs a facelift, which is our exact mission with this project. Developers are looking to shift shopping centers to a multi-purpose lifestyle hub, incorporating leisure offerings and getting people in the door again, whether they are consumers, tenants, or professionals."
Originally opened in 1988, the West Ridge Mall has seen a steady decline in business and occupancy over the last decade. Anchor stores like Macy's and Sears closed their doors in 2012 and 2018, respectively. Various management companies tried to keep the retail center alive, but by 2021, the mall's occupancy rate had dropped to 39 percent, following national trends. According to a recent report, malls today represent just 5.5 percent of total US retail gross leasable brick-and-mortar area.
To reverse this decline and adapt to the evolving retail landscape, the revitalized West Ridge Mall will feature a fresh urban design and layout. The new center will incorporate non-traditional mall uses such as co-working spaces, theaters, fitness spaces, spas, breweries and cafes.
"As retail and workspace expectations evolve, the 21st-century mall holds the potential to offer dynamic mixed-use spaces that include lifestyle amenities and office space options sought after by young professionals," said Molly Howey, president of GO Topeka. "This project represents a crucial step for Topeka to further cultivate a multifaceted lifestyle experience catering to diverse demographics. Moreover, local ownership ensures a customized approach tailored to our community's unique needs."
Founded by Kansas natives Foster and David Callahan in 2005, Advisors Excel has become one of Topeka's largest employers, with over 900 employees. The company has developed and led several projects in the Topeka region, including renovating the Henderson Learning Resources Center at Washburn University, Foster's and Callahan's alma mater. To support community businesses and boost the local workforce, in 2019, the team re-purposed a former shopping complex, including two office buildings, with a projected total economic impact of $650 million over 10 years from the added jobs.
Foster also heads AIM Strategies, a private equity company focused on developing downtown Topeka. Through AIM Strategies, over $60 million has been invested in Topeka's Cyrus Hotel, The Pennant, Iron Rail and other commercial office properties. Other initiatives focus on restaurants, housing and starting and developing downtown businesses.
The West Ridge Mall development is currently in its initial stages, with Advisors Excel working to retain all current mall employees and management during the transition.
About Advisors Excel
Advisors Excel, founded in 2005, has redefined a marketing organization's role in supporting independent financial advisors. Its growth has been unparalleled in the industry and is achieved by working with a smaller group of select advisors. With a focus on making good advisors great business owners, Advisors Excel has revolutionized how financial professionals build and operate their businesses. For more information, visit AdvisorsExcel.com.
About GO Topeka
GO Topeka creates county-wide economic success for all companies and citizens through the implementation of an aggressive economic development strategy that capitalizes on the unique strengths of the community. GO Topeka operates under the Greater Topeka Partnership and is the leading economic development agency in the area. For more, visit GoTopeka.com.
SOURCE GO Topeka