SCRANTON — The Mall at Steamtown will remain open as it enters foreclosure.
Friday morning, the remaining merchants in the mall got to hear the future plans for the place from Al Boscov, the owner of the lone remaining anchor store.
Within the walls of his own store, he’s unmistakable. Al Boscov took time to chat with shoppers at the department store in the Mall at Steamtown, reassuring them that Boscov’s will always be in Scranton and so will the mall.
The CEO of Boscov’s department stores was instrumental in developing the Mall at Steamtown more than 20 years ago. Now he and other mall owners face a difficult time. On Friday, the mall was forced into foreclosure.
“Sure, it’s emotional, you put so many years in trying to create something you don’t want to see it disappear for no reason. In this case, the ownership of the mall doesn’t have faith, but we do,” Boscov said.
Boscov says he will bid for the mall when it goes to auction at a sheriff’s sale later this year.
The mall’s mortgage holder filed a foreclosure complaint in Lackawanna County court Friday saying that in July mall owners defaulted on a $41 million loan.
Boscov says his store is the best performing store at the mall at Steamtown. It’s even one of the best performing Boscov stores. That’s why he says he’s interested in buying the mall so he can stay in this market.
“We hope that others will bid for it. for Example, if Simon which is the largest mall owner in the country wants to bid for it, we would be love to have them because they could lease it even faster.”
Boscov says after the sheriff’s sale, the Mall at Steamtown can refinance its debt and hopefully get an owner that can invest more money into the mall to draw in more tenants.
Boscov says there’s no new anchor store lined up to replace the Bon Ton and it will likely be months until they can start looking for one again.
“We got active in talking to people, but you have no one until you’re out of this and you can make a deal and so forth. We don’t have the ability to do that.”