Who Bought the Mall?
SCRANTON — One day after an online auction showed that someone bid $5.25 million for the mall at Steamtown, it is still not known who the new owner is.
That was the big question in downtown Scranton on Thursday. City and county politicians, real estate developers, retailers, and business leaders were left in the dark.
The online auctioneer says it doesn’t have to tell us until the sale is final.
We do know about some local heavy hitters who did not have the winning bid.
People were scarce at the Mall at Steamtown but the rumors were everywhere regarding who put up $5.25 million to buy the foreclosed mall.
Believed to be a frontrunner all along, Boscov’s bowed out of the bidding war right at the end. But, CEO Jim Boscov would not tell Newswatch 16 what his final bid was. Boscov thinks a big-time mall developer may have bought Steamtown.
That’s what many others hope, too.
“I’m hoping whoever bought the mall is willing to give consideration to what that would be for Scranton and bring that part of the city back to life,” said Michele Dempsey.
Dempsey was responsible for drawing up some plans for a renovated Mall at Steamtown. She hopes whoever put up the winning bid will also pour millions into repurposing the mall
“About a third of the malls in the country really are dead or dying. There have been a lot of successful repurposes and all of them are some form of mixed-use redevelopment, whether the anchor is medical, some kind of a medical use, or a university,” said Dempsey.
Chamber officials say a few venture capitalists from out of the area showed interest. Whether or not they won is still a mystery.
“I’m sure it will be revealed in time.”
Michael Boyd helped start a Facebook group pushing for an open-air market at the mall. It became an online forum for folks to chime in about what they would like to see.
All those ideas depend on who is on the other side of that $5.25 million bid.
“Well, it’s definitely not discouraging. You know, anytime you have a business that’s going to come in and invest money into your area, it’s a good sign,” Boyd said.
County and city leaders, along with other major retailers in Lackawanna County told us that they were all left in the dark. The field of possible local buyers is getting smaller, leading many of the people we talked with to believe that the new owner of this mall may be a name we haven’t heard before.
The sale of the Mall at Steamtown is set to be final in a few weeks.