FairOaks Mall has been granted permission to create another entrance to its parking lot at Hawcreek Avenue and 25th Street, something mall operators say could attract a replacement anchor store.

Columbus Plan Commission members voted 7-0 Wednesday, with four members absent, to approve another entrance off 25th Street.

Vehicular access to the mall is now available at five points: Central Avenue and National Road, considered principal arterials; as well as Herman Darlage Drive, a collector access point; a minor arterial road in 25th Street and a local street in 26th Street.

According to a city engineering department review, the original need for a no-access designation along 25th Street was to force traffic to the existing light at 25th and Herman Darlage. At the time, there was not a traffic signal at 25th and Hawcreek — but a traffic light has since been added there.

Recommendations in favor of the request were filed by both the city-county planning department and city engineering department.

The request to revise a preliminary plat was made by Jake Fitzsimmons, a land surveyor with Strand Associates Inc., working as a project manager for the mall.

Kim Showalter, FairOaks Mall general manager, said earlier that mall representatives were talking to several prospective tenants interested in filling the space that had been occupied by national retailer J.C. Penney, which closed in July. Showalter said she couldn’t reveal who the prospective tenants are.

Details about discussions that have taken place with prospective tenants at the mall remain confidential, said Patricia Tesluk, vice president with Veritas Realty, the mall’s managing agent. Any occupancy remains contingent on the mall having the entrance off 25th Street, which will be in close proximity to the entrance of the former Penney store, Tesluk said.

Approval of the preliminary plat revision by the Columbus Plan Commission also will require additional steps by the mall, city officials said.

A final plat needs to be submitted and reviewed by the planning office, and obtaining a zoning compliance certificate will also be required, senior planner Ashley Klingler said.

The mall also will have to work with the city engineer’s office to change the traffic light at the intersection of Hawcreek Avenue and 25th Street, Klingler said.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com