New name: County chooses West End Plaza as mall title

SALISBURY — It took less than 20 minutes for commissioners to rename the mammoth Jake Alexander Boulevard complex they fought to buy for roughly four months.

“New name for the Salisbury Mall is West End Plaza,” Chairman Jim Sides said after the discussion at Monday night's county commissioners meeting.

County leaders had an idea of what they wanted after Vice Chairman Craig Pierce floated the “West End Plaza” suggestion in an email two weeks ago.

Officials purchased the Salisbury Mall in December for $3.425 million after a bidding war fail through and the county entered into direct negotiations with the owner.

Sides began talks Monday night by mentioning two messages he had received from members of the community: “West Plaza” from John Leatherman, chairman of the Rowan County Republican Party, and Gary Morton, of China Grove, who offered the name “Rowan Central Plaza.” Video from Monday's meeting is available on the county's website.

Four commissioners agreed that the mall needed to be rebranded. Commissioner Jon Barber advocated to keep the name the same or wait awhile before changing it. The measure passed by a vote of 4-1.

Sides said he had been to the mall recently and said tenants told him their biggest concern was recent bad publicity.

“I think it's imperative to do something and do something soon,” Sides said, noting that a quick decision would boost tenants' faith in county leaders' vision for the mall.

Some officials said the mall should be quickly renamed so tenants would have time to change business' branding before the political season brings voters to the future board of elections site.

Pierce brought the renaming issue to county officials' attention in an email two weeks ago and said he hoped to find a title that bridged the private-partnership feel the complex is expected to maintain.

“That's derived from the fact that the city of Salisbury has a plaza downtown. Spencer used to have their Park Plaza — I think they still call it Shoppes at the Plaza,” Pierce said. “This is just simply identifying that it's on the western side of the county and would not give any specific type label.”

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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