TOPEKA (KSNT) – A decision on what to do with a well-known Topeka eyesore has finally been made.
The Topeka City Council voted Tuesday night to demolish White Lakes mall, or White Lakes Center as it was formally named. City officials point to the structure having many property code violations under its owner, KDL, Inc. within the past five years.
A fire damaged the mall, which has sat vacant for years, in December 2020. On July 2, the city ordered the property owner to demolish the structure. Since the owner has not demolished it, the council voted to approve up to $2.5 million for the city manager to begin the process to demolish the structure.
After the demolition, the city will seek reimbursement from the property owner. If the owner doesn’t pay the cost, the city can put a lien on the property, after that if the property is sold, money would go to pay the lien.
Officials said December is the target date to start the demolition, and it could be finished by the end of the year. First, an asbestos study could be needed as well as for crews to pump water out of the structure’s basement.
City council members unanimously voted to approve the measure. Members of the public voiced support to tear down the once-thriving mall, with members of the council sharing memories they have of the building from long ago. A representative for Mainline Printing, the mall’s neighbor, also spoke in favor of demolition.
Many people also expressed excitement for the development of new structures at the location when the old one is gone.