Who Bought the Mall?

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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.

17 comments

  • sickofitall

    A lot of cities and towns tend to set themselves up not only around the business or shopping districts, but for the local Colleges as well, offering more stuff for the 20-something age group. Scranton lacks the feeling of hope and inspiration. It has such a cold feeling. No night life except for creepy stuff that goes on after-hours. Only stuff that involves drinking and drugs in Scranton at night. I hope whoever bought the building has a large amount of positive vision, because Scranton needs something to cure it, desperately.

  • sickofitall

    It might make a good multipurpose building for the arts, dance and sports, and a couple shops, and eating places.. Maybe housing such things as a dance studio, a workout club, art classes, (kind of like the Ice-Box used to be, but with more. A playhouse would be nice, as well as an art gallery (lots of artists around here). One of the big problems with the building is that most people don’t want to be in Scranton after dark. The only reason people are there in the daytime is because they work there. It’s so dreary, and not exactly safe, at night. The Dickson City highway has every possible shop you need to buy stuff, so this “Ex-Mall” should offer something not offered anywhere else in order to make people want to go to Scranton after-hours.

  • th

    It will probably made in to something to do with healthcare. New offices to go to for some kind of test for the latest diseases and conditions we are all being brain washed in to getting from the television. A new place to go and wait for your name to be called-a copay-sitting with all kinds of idiots with access cards ( who will have no copay). What else do we build in America-but money making rackets.

  • nepa

    I hope they make something of this mall, it really sucks because I grew up with some awesome memories there as a child. Thomas the tank days and the toy stores. It WAS and CAN potentially be awesome.

    I have a suggestion for the new owner: Train wine tasting tour! Not too sure how that would go over with the PLCB but every female this side of the east coast, would be ALL about it. Id like to patent this idea. thank you.

  • Sots14

    I don’t want to see/hear another story on this until you actually KNOW who bought it! Enough with the speculation already!!!!!!

  • HENRY ROWENGARTNER

    Maybe they will make another railroad museum out of it? Hopefully something this area can be proud of!

  • Derwin Husain O'Frackstone

    Another tax right off, and its glory town OH’boompaa style !!
    Now pay up your immigrant baby tax health’ care fee.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Doesn’t matter who bought it. I’d say that’s a pretty good investment. Built in the 90s for 90 million and pay 5 million today? There’s money to be made on that for sure.

    • Derwin Husain O'Frackstone

      It was stolen…for that price….jeeewizz i wonder why property is not worth more here ?

    • Delores

      And there in lies the problem……now that it was bought @ 5 million dollars…….that’s what the taxes will be paid on …….not the 90 million it cost to build.

  • Valfreyja

    Whoever it is has their work cut out for them. Once malls go into decline they just don’t come back. These rehabilitation companies have been near universally unsuccessful in bringing profitability back to dead malls, and not for lack of effort.

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