RICHMOND — Richmond Mall, which lost several anchor stores after a new shopping center opened about two years ago, will be sold in an auction later this month because of a default on a loan, according to a property manager and court documents.
The mall, which is on the Eastern Bypass, will be auctioned at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 24 at the Madison County Courthouse. The foreclosure came as a result of a lien placed on the property, which is owned by Richmond Mall Associates and does business as Bush Realty. The lien, which was sought by U.S. Bank, is $16.4 million, according to court records.
But the mall will remain open, property manager Vickey Strunk said. She said the mall has several long-term leases that will be honored as the property is redeveloped into a multi-purpose space that includes restaurants, offices and retail stores.
She said the current owners wanted to sell because they do not specialize in redevelopment.
Three restaurants plan to open in the mall next week. Gridiron Barbecue will open Monday, Strunk said. And Gillum's, which will serve subs and pizza, plans to open by Nov. 12.
Another restaurant that will serve hot dogs and hamburgers is also expected to open by Nov. 12; the restaurant's name had not been finalized Wednesday.
Strunk said a business wants to open offices at the old Cinemark movie theater location. Cinemark Theatre moved to Richmond Centre, off Interstate 75.
Although the Richmond Mall lost stores, including anchor store JCPenney to Richmond Centre, several retailers and restaurants stayed at the mall, including Sears, OfficeMax, Claire's and Cici's Pizza. Strunk said one business has expressed interest in occupying the spot formerly held by JCPenney.
Another anchor store, Dawahares, was initially set to move from Richmond Mall to Richmond Centre before the retailer closed its stores.
Strunk said it will probably take a year to finish redeveloping the property and returning it to nearly full capacity. She said the mall was about 98 percent occupied when the new complex opened in 2008. Occupancy dropped to about 50 percent when the anchor stores left.
Strunk said occupancy will soon return to a percentage in the mid-70s once new restaurants open and pending negotiations are finalized.
"We have hundreds of people come through here every day," Strunk said.
She said the restaurants were lured by the business offices whose employees create more traffic in the mall.
"In another year we should be right back where we were," Strunk said. "It's a slow process."