Mall at Stonecrest subject to foreclosure

As malls across the country have struggled over the years to stay afloat, the Mall at Stonecrest has become the latest to go into foreclosure.

Stonecrest Mall LLC, owners of the 20-year-old mall, have fallen behind on payments of the loan, according to foreclosure documents, prompting the lender to sell the property due to the unpaid debt. The principal amount of the loan issued in 2004 was $108.5 million. Attorneys for the lender declined to comment on how much debt is owed on the property. 

DeKalb County property records show the 1.2 million square foot mall’s value is estimated at $84 million.

Despite the mall’s financial difficulties, Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary appears optimistic about the site’s future, hopeful that it will be purchased by new investors.

“We are strategically planning viable economic development around the mall that will thrive and will help the mall thrive,” Lary said in a statement. “The city has a financial investment in the Sears building, so this is a personal strategy for me. I can’t speak definitively for private corporations, such as Urban Retailers, the mall owner, but I don’t foresee this as being a situation in which the mall will suddenly close.”

Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary

The city plans to use the former Sears space to house the city’s public safety department. The nearby vacant former Sam’s Club building is planned to be used for city administration offices.

“Our economic development plan, which will be completed soon, combined with the plans of Allen Family Investments LLC., owners of most of the vacant land adjacent to the mall, will add to the city’s residential and commercial density. So, in short, we have plans in place that will keep the Mall at Stonecrest from falling to the condition of other unsuccessful area malls,” continued Lary.

The foreclosure will take place March 3.

Donald Bieler, director of Marketing and Regional Specialty Leasing for Urban Retail Properties — which manages Mall at Stonecrest— said Urban Retail is working with a special servicer to extend the existing mortgage.  Special servicers may take over the servicing of the default loan or help work out debt plans or loan modification.

“We hope to have additional news that we can share soon,” Bieler said.

The Champion staff has attempted to contact representatives from Development Authority of DeKalb County, which is listed as a part owner of the property, and a representative from Stonecrest Mall LLC. Calls or emails have not been returned. 

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