Irondale hoping for Midas' touch

An Irondale shopping mall that's been called a ghost town is getting a new lease on life. The same Canadian investor behind the recent renovations to Crestwood Festival is purchasing the Grants Mill Station.

Currently, only five of the 23 store spaces are occupied. But the city believes investor Mark Gold has the magic touch to bring back businesses and hundreds of jobs.

Colston and Brown Barbershop moved into Grants Mill Station just before Walmart left the space now occupied by Garden Ridge. Other businesses, jobs and tax dollars soon disappeared.

"It was almost like the Great Depression up here, so hopefully a big train is coming," said Nicky Rolling, a barber at Colston and Brown Barbershop.

That big train could be Gold who recently purchased what is now Crestwood Festival. New stores are already opening there, and it is advertising nearly 90 percent occupancy.

"I{}think it's going to be real easy to turn around- a lot of folks want it turned around," said Irondale Mayor Tommy Joe Alexander.

Many people, especially the ones who live near Grants Mill Station, hope Gold does have Midas' touch.

"I'm glad to see the activity they've got at Festival. If we can get some up there, it would certainly be good," said resident Steve Jones.

"That was one of the attractions that drew me. So to see it go down like that, it was not good. You don't want to see vacancies in your neighborhood. It can bring crime. It takes down your property value," said Angela Allen who lives behind the mall.

Allen is ready to do{}her part by spending money at the new restaurants and stores.

"If you bring something to revitalize, I'm all for it. I'll definitely patronize that area because{}I want it to be successful," said Allen.

Alexander says the 188 page agreement is on his desk awaiting review and his signature.