The owner of the former Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield has reached an agreement to sell the largely vacant shopping plaza to a buyer from the Toronto area – again.
Oberlin Plaza One, the investment group that owns the 750,000-square-foot mall, has agreed to sell The Summit to an unidentified buyer from Toronto, which is still formulating its plans for the commercial property, said James Anthony Jr., the group’s managing member.
Anthony said the owners are “hopeful that it will close within the next 30 days or so.” He said the buyers did not want to be named yet, although that will “probably” change later.
“There is a very solid prospect to acquire the property and reopen it and redevelop it, but their plans are still very much in the formative stages,” Anthony said.
This is the second time in the last year that Oberlin Plaza has signed a contract to sell the mall on Williams Road to a buyer from the Toronto area. In March, the group had planned to sell it to BGS Homes, which does both residential and commercial projects, and had expected the deal to close within 60 days.
But the deal fell apart because the two sides couldn’t agree on final financial terms, Anthony said, acknowledging that there’s no guarantee this time, either. “I don’t know whether he’s going to close or not, either,” he said. “These things are so touchy.”
Fortunately, the new buyer had already been involved and was just waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces after the BGS deal fell through.
Summit Park Mall opened in 1972, anchored by Sears, AM&A’s, Hens & Kelly and Jenss, but ran into hard times by the late 1990s, when it was 40 percent vacant. It has also been home to Child World, McCrory, Toys R Us and a Macy’s closeout store at various times. Renovations in 2004 and 2005 brought some new stores and tenants, such as Steve & Barry’s, a children’s play center and an aerospace museum, but those have since left.
Oberlin Plaza has owned the mall since 2002 but filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2009 and nearly closed the mall a month later. Most stores moved out.
Today, only one-third of the mall is occupied, with Sears, Save-A-Lot and Bon-Ton Stores operating in a total of about 260,000 square feet. But the rest is vacant, and some of it incurred damage in January from flooding from a pipe.
The owners have been trying to sell it for some time, with an asking price that Anthony said was higher than what they’re getting. Anthony himself is a real estate broker for Colliers International, operating a franchise in North Carolina in addition to his real estate investment business.