Who, What, When, Where, & Why the Boston Hill Center?
Updated: Apr 12, 2019
In Nov. 2017, Marion Housing chose to purchase Centrum Mall with the intent to revitalize the building’s legacy, rebrand its’ image and repopulate the building with local businesses.
“We chose the Centrum Mall because it was a good opportunity that would help support our mission at MHA, while making a large impact in downtown,” Steve Sapp, chief executive officer of Marion Housing Authority, said.
Once acquiring the space, Sapp and his team re-evaluated the space and its use. Recognizing, with their resources, they could transform it into anything they saw best suited for the community. However, Sapp said, the community dictated what the building was going to be.
“The building houses some current businesses and it continues to be interesting to more businesses and retail,” Sapp said. “The combination of the businesses, retail and restaurants have a proven track record of working well together.”
Because of the consistency of this business model within this particular space and the community’s lack of office space available, MHA decided to pour time and resources into updating the building in its current form. Specifically, they hope these changes draw new tenants and talent to the Marion community.
Already, MHA has introduced several improvements to the building including, new paint, flooring, lighting, HVAC systems, bathroom remodels and a soon to be completed facade.
With all these physical improvements taking place, Sapp’s team sought to communicate these changes to the community through a name change. The new name, the Boston Hill Center, is inspired from the three previous names for the building — the Boston Store, Hills Department Store and Centrum Mall.
“The new name helps others understand that things are different here,” Sapp said. “We want the community to realize something new and exciting is happening at this location.”
Although the Boston Hill Center is just in the early stages of redevelopment, Sapp is encouraged by the attention that the business has already received. The investment that MHA is pouring into the building is sparking a new interest in what downtown Marion has to offer.
“These changes, along with new incoming businesses, are creating a new and exciting retail environment in downtown — one that our whole community can be proud of,” Sapp said.