Department store owner Al Boscov said Tuesday he thinks Boscov’s will be the winning bidder for the Mall at Steamtown.
Miami Beach-based LNR Partners, LLC, purchased the downtown mall at a Lackawanna County sheriff’s sale Tuesday with a sheriff’s fee of $1,567.71, according to Community Affairs director Joseph D’Arienzo.
LNR, who Boscov said represents the mall’s owners, asked for more than $37 million for the struggling shopping center, Boscov said.
Despite the other two anchor stores leaving the mall, Boscov said his Steamtown location is doing quite well.
He was present for the sale, but did not enter a bid.
“They are asking way more than we think it’s worth,” he said.
However, he said Boscov’s will be negotiating with LNR to purchase the shopping center as well as the Steamtown Boscov’s location in the coming weeks.
A single bid of $1 was entered Tuesday and subsequently rejected, he said. The individual who made the bid was looking to turn the site into a casino, but Boscov said his department store’s lease forbids the property be developed as anything other than a mall.
The sale price must take into account expenditures of $10 million to $12 million to accommodate new tenants, Boscov said, so bids will be lower than what LNR is asking.
The department store’s chairman and CEO said he doesn’t know how long the talks will take, but assured the Times Leader, “It won’t take forever.” Should Boscov’s be outbid, he said he’d be glad to work with any new owners, but hopes it goes to a major mall developer experienced in operating shopping centers of the size.
Still, Boscov said he’s confident his company is the one for the job.
“I think we can get some good people,” he said, “and I think we can do it well.”
Boscov said his company has been eager to begin making improvements to the department store.
“Up to now we haven’t had the ability to do anything because we don’t own it,” he said. However, Boscov added, should his company win ownership, “we’re ready to get busy.”
The Mall at Steamtown was foreclosed after owners Steamtown Mall Partners LP defaulted on a million-dollar loan payment in March.