Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 6, 2009

WHEATFIELD: New life for the Summit

WHEATFIELD — The Summit mall has been given at least a few more days to operate and the town supervisor says there is still a possibility that it may eventually get a new lease on life.

Town of Wheatfield Supervisor Timothy Demler said Friday the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Raleigh, N.C. granted an extension that will allow the mall to continue to remain open beyond today’s scheduled deadline for closure.

“The bankruptcy court concurred with the town and the tenants’ position that the deadline was not reasonable,” Demler said.

Last month, the mall’s current owner, Oberlin Plaza One, filed

for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, a move that nullified lease agreements with 26 tenants operating inside the mall. Saturday was the original deadline for tenants in the mall’s interior to vacate the facility. On Friday afternoon, the message on the electronic sign in front the mall, which had for weeks advertised the mall’s pending closure, had changed to reflect plans to offer new hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. effective Sunday.

According to Demler, the court’s decision clears the way for the remaining stores to stay open through June 30 and may provide enough time for the mall’s owner to negotiate a sales agreement with a new investor to keep the property off the auction block. Demler said he’s expecting the mall to be open for its usual business hours this weekend.

“I wish we had this decision for the extension a month ago rather than yesterday, but it’s better than what we thought we’d get tomorrow,” Demler said Friday. “I’m optimistic for the mall. I just hope we can make it survive once it is sold.”

Demler said there are currently two prospective buyers for the site, and he’s hopeful a deal will get done with one of them by as early as next week.

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