COLUMBIA — A proposal to expand the Target store at Columbia Mall and create a new parking lot that allows storm water to seep through to underground detention basins unanimously won the approval of City Council on Monday night.
The plan calls for increasing the size of the Target store on the northwest side of the existing building by about 25 percent, or 26,810 square feet, for a new total area of 128,779 square feet. The proposal also includes plans to eliminate existing detention ponds in an open space area on the south side of the mall near Worley Street.
To offset the loss of storm water ponds, the new parking lot would be constructed using a unique type of concrete that allows water to seep through the pavement and be collected in the underground containers. This is the first instance of a parking lot with the new material in the mid-Missouri area.
The city normally requires that commercial developments contain at least 15 percent open space; the Target expansion plan will reduce the amount of open space from 13.5 percent to 9.6 percent. Storm-water ponds count as part of the open space percentages.
Mall representatives, however, believe the permeable concrete lot with the underground collection system will achieve the same purpose as the existing ponds.
Sixth Ward Council Member Barbara Hoppe, however, asked mall representatives on Monday night if they acknowledged that trees and green space serve other functions besides water detention.
Ron Shy, an engineer working for the mall, agreed the parking lot isn’t a complete trade off.
“But it is as close as we can get,” he said.
Dan Simon, attorney for the Columbia Mall, said, “If we don’t do this, the mall has the potential to be an urban eyesore.”