"This mall can be saved," says tenant Noal White, and he intends to save it.
When Noal White moved his CNY Mac Store into the Great Northern Mall outside of Syracuse, he says there were 50 stores in it. Now there’s only 17, the physical plant is deteriorating, and he wants to buy it.
“I live here locally. I care about this mall, I remember what this mall used to be, and I see the potential it has for the 21st century,” White told CNY Central.
Even if he has the financing to repave the parking lot and replace the roof—needs he named as essential—White will have a difficult time convincing the current owners to divest Great Northern. It’s owned by Kohan Retail Investment Group, a buyer of failing malls that makes few repairs or upgrades and collects rent until foreclosed upon.
The city of Akron, Ohio, foreclosed on the company’s Chapel Hill Mall after Kohan failed to pay $166,000 in back taxes. The mall closed last April and has been demolished to be replaced by a business park. In Kenner, La., Kohan owed $300,000 in taxes and the mall was put up for sale at a Sheriff’s auction. It received no bids, and Kenner now owns the mall.
But White claims he has the money to do all the repairs at Great Northern and intends to carry out his plan. He says that half a million people live within a 10-mile radius of the mall and is convinced traffic will return to its former levels once the mall is renovated.
“The stores that have been in here that left were doing well in sales for the most part,” said White. “The reason why a lot of them left is because of the neglect of the building.”