SWANSEA, Mass. (WPRI) — After nearly 45 years, the Swansea Mall officially closed its doors for good Sunday evening.
It was once home to nearly 90 stores and businesses. With its closure remains a series of questions on what will happen to the 84-acre site.
The Carlyle Development Group owns the mall and according to the company’s CEO, Abdi Mahamedi, they made every effort to keep the mall open, but it was too tough of a situation.
“It needs to be redeveloped as a mixed-use project such as apartments, senior housing, offices and maybe a small retail component. Our group just doesn’t have the capacity to execute it,“ Mahamedi said in a phone interview Friday.
An online auction for the property will be held April 15-17. According to the auction website, the mall’s starting bid is $1.4 million.
Any remaining stores will have a few weeks to leave the mall following its closure.
Among them, what used to be Wigglekids.
“It came a long way,“ Kimberly Ferrara, President, Wigglekids Inc. said.
Wiggle Kids, a non-profit dedicated to inclusive fitness programming and activities for people of all abilities and ages, opened roughly seven years ago. Ferrara said 160 adults came in weekly, along with hundreds of kids. Some of those children left final notes of farewell on a wall inside the business.
“We kind of changed the way this mall looks at inclusion, and so we kind of made our mark in this building,“ Ferrara said.
Wiggle Kids plans to continue some programming at a studio in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and some classes will be held throughout the community as final future plans are pinned down.
“If we pigeon ourselves into one permanent location, that only serves the need in one little market. So we want to make this so everyone can learn how to do what we did and spread it around the country,“ Ferrara said.