Late last year, Colliers International and Arlington Properties conducted a series of listening sessions around Homewood about the future of the Brookwood Village Mall.

The two companies had just signed a contract to redevelop the flagging mall but wanted to get feedback from the community before moving forward.

Colliers and Arlington already had some idea of what they wanted to do with the property, of course, reimagining Brookwood Village as a multi-use development including retail, restaurants, high-end apartments, office spaces, a luxury hotel and a conference center.

Shopping malls have been on the decline for years – Brookwood Village is almost half-empty – and a nationwide pandemic didn’t help things.

“I think COVID has accelerated what’s happening nationwide to malls, and I think it’s maybe pushed the timeline for this project maybe sooner than it otherwise would have been,” said Mark Stuermann, executive vice president of Arlington Properties’ development division. “But our vision for it hasn’t really changed.”

That vision is to do away with most of the traditional mall structure and replace it with something that feels more like a downtown promenade. Stuermann said he hopes the finished development will feel like a three- or four-block stretch of Greenville, South Carolina, “a walkable, mixed-use place where people live, work and interact,” he said.