It's one of the first steps forward for significant renovations at the Southern Park Mall in Boardman. 

The company who owns the mall, Washington Prime Group, has given the okay for a Columbus-based architectural firm to apply for a permit to demolish the part of the mall that formerly housed Sears and its auto center. 

Sears announced the closure back in 2018, but the owner of the mall said there is some hope for the space.

The permit application dated July 10 details the demolition would take place in two phases.

The first phase would demolish the Sears Auto Center adjacent to the store, while the second phase would demolish the actual store connected to the mall.  

The Washington Prime Group plans to replace the former Sears and the auto center with green space to host community events and activities throughout the year. 

According to the company, the green space will be able to host "dynamic outdoor events," and they hope that it will drive foot traffic and position the Southern Park Mall as Boardman's town center. 

Officials from the Mahoning County Building Inspection Department said the demolition plans are being reviewed before the permit is approved, so there is no set timeline for when the demolition might take place.