Westland Mall, on the decline for years, could have a date with a wrecking ball in the near future.

Westland Mall, on the decline for years, could have a date with a wrecking ball in the near future.

Franklin Township fire and building officials have declared the 860,000-square-foot mall a nuisance and in violation of several codes.

Plaza Properties, the mall's managing owner, has 30 days to submit a plan to rectify the situation, said Franklin Township Fire Chief James Welch.

Over the summer, thieves stole pipes and other infrastructure that leaves the interior vulnerable to fire, as the fire-suppression system could freeze, Welch said.

He said officials with the township have met with representatives of Plaza Properties to discuss ways to repair the building, at the southeast corner of West Broad Street and Interstate 270.

Built in 1969 as an open-air shopping center, the mall originally boasted such national tenants as Lazarus, JCPenney and Sears, the latter of which is still in operation on the west end of the mall.

"There are several avenues they can take to comply with the building department separate from Sears altogether," Welch said of Plaza.

But according to published reports, Plaza Properties likely will proceed with demolition. Nobody from the company has returned a call for comment.

Enclosed in 1983, Westland enjoyed relative success until competition from newer malls, such as the Mall at Tuttle Crossing, made it difficult to vie for customers.

The structure has been vacant for some years and completely closed to foot traffic.

"It would be good to tear it down and rebuild something there," said Don Cook, chairman of the Franklin Township Board of Trustees.