Niagara Gazette

March 3, 2014

Toronto developer close to buying Summit mall wants to reopen facility

by Mia Summerson
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — WHEATFIELD — Though nothing has been formally finalized, it’s looking like the Summit mall has just about been sold.

After endless hints that someone might be considering to buy the mall, Ontario-based developer Zoran Cocov is preparing to make his first purchase on this side of the border.

“(The sale) is not finalized, there seems to be some minor issues with sale closing,” Cocov said. “Hopefully it will be done in the next few days, the attorneys are finishing it off.”

The 800,000 square foot mall, which has been largely vacant since filing for bankruptcy in 2009, was once a successful anchor of the Wheatfield community. Cocov says he hopes to restore it to its former glory.

“It is my intention is to make it into a success,” he said. “A thriving destination for not only the locals, but also for the Canadians who are already going to the Fashion Outlets.”

Unfortunately, it’s going to be a long road before the former Summit Park Mall, later renamed The Summit mall, is ready to open its doors again. Over the past few years the property has been the victim of countless incidents of theft and vandalism.

There was also massive water damage when, according to Wheatfield Supervisor Robert Cliffe, a frozen pipe led to a huge flood in the mall last January. It was estimated $1 million in damage was done to the building.

It was also mentioned that there is work that needs to be done to the electrical transformers before power can be restored to the building. Cliffe, who announced the impending sale at last week’s board meeting, says this is a process which requires more mild weather before it can begin.

“The process with National Grid could take six to eight months after the electric study is done.” Cocov said. He said there will be more announcements once the condition of the mall is better assessed.

While the deal is getting close to being sealed, and the final details of the process being are being ironed out, Cocov declined to reveal the dollar amount on the table at this time.

The fate of the Summit mall may be up in the air for now, but Cliffe says he has high hopes that the mall may once again be a community staple.

“It would give (travelers) a place to go and spend some time,” Cliffe said. “Once the mall has foot traffic coming through door, then they’d lease out space and we could have a viable mall again. It would be nice, he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him.”