By Bobeth Yates

CUTLER BAY (CBSMiami) – Southland Mall in Cutler Bay will soon be transformed into a multimillion-dollar mixed-use development with homes, restaurants and retails shops.

“It’s an embarrassment here, it’s dilapidated,” said longtime Cutler Bay resident Dahlia Canes as she walked around Southland Mall.

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“The mall has been decaying quite a bit, as you can see in the background it needs a major facelift to say the least,” added Canes.

Canes and other Cutler Bay residents who feel the same will soon get their wish of a facelift.

“You have to worry about what’s gonna happen when a mall is struggling, so we decided to come up with a vision for this area rather than leave it at the hands of the developer on their own,” said Tim Meerbott, the mayor of Cutler Bay.

According to town officials, the mall, which was in bankruptcy, was recently sold for more than $100 million and the new owners have agreed to work with the town to transform the more than 80-acre property.

“So, we develop a division which would be amenable with our town a mix-used environment that will bring all the things that we can use – restaurants, entertainment, jobs – something that’s very vital in every community,” added Meerbott.

In addition, Meerbott says the plan is to build a walkable space, which will also include housing. But he adds those housing units will be different from other developments.

“Cutler Bay has some standards that we want to make sure the developer abide by to provide quality housing with enough room to make it a livable space rather than a space to through people in.”

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But the community is mixed on the idea.

“It would be a good opportunity, but the high-quality, high-pricing housing, a lot of people can’t afford that,” said Cutler Bay resident Latoya McCray.

Leila Batista agreed, saying, “It concerns me about the property value in the area because it’s already going up. It’s already hard to afford.”

“There isn’t as many people as other mall so hopefully the new management it will get better,” said Carlos Salas.

And better is what town officials say they are working towards.

“Cutler Bay is the geographic center of the county yet there’s very little opportunity here for jobs, very little opportunity here for entertainment, and this could be the spark that changes everything,” added Meerbott.

The PR company representing the developers sent CBS4 the following statement:

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“The mall will be dramatically renovated and upgraded. Plans are being developed for beautiful residential spaces on excess land. We look forward to providing additional information about our plans shortly.”