Cortana Mall's future uncertain after closure of Virginia College
BATON ROUGE - Many are wondering what the future holds for Cortana Mall now that it has lost one of its only major tenants. Virginia College abruptly shut its doors Wednesday as part of a nationwide closure.
"The mall seems like it's shutting down, it's really bleak," said barber Jason James. He's worked at Slim Cutz barbershop in the mall for several months.
"The mall used to be pretty prosperous but a lot of the stores have moved to the other side of town," he said.
Cortana Mall still has a handful of small shops mixed among vacant units. Dillard's is the only major anchor store still operating.
"I don't know what the future for the mall is," said Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis who represents the area where the mall is located.
Lewis has long advocated for a combination of private and government investment to revitalize and repurpose the mall. However, she said it would require state funding which is politically challenging to acquire.
Lewis doesn't want to see any more decline in the area. "The minute that mall becomes completely abandoned you're going to have issues with it becoming a blighted property."
Businesses still there hope to survive this latest closure.
"I think a lot of independent business should come in and that will be a big help," said James.