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Managers Confirm Mall at Steamtown Facing Foreclosure

Managers at the Mall at Steamtown confirmed that the facility in downtown Scranton is facing foreclosure.
We are learning more about the future of the Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton.

Mall managers confirmed Thursday that the facility will be forced into foreclosure. Officials are hoping the move will help the struggling Lackawanna Avenue facility get back on solid financial footing.

"I have a very good feeling," general manager Clarence Banks said.

Banks says foreclosure might sound bad but he thinks of it as an opportunity.

"The foreclosure is going to allow us to restructure some of the debt and move forward and it's going to be a great viable picture for this mall," Banks said.

While Banks would not say how much debt the mall has, Lackawanna County commissioners have pegged the number around $40 million.

Commissioner Jim Wansacz says the commissioners have been working for the last year on a way to make the mall survive and he believes it can still survive.

"Malls throughout the country are not surviving," Commissioner Wansacz said. "The outdoor spaces are surviving now such as what you see up at Montage Mountain, such as what you're seeing up in Dickson City. That is what the big push is for."

Mall managers say the foreclosure and restructuring of debt will hopefully allow them to offer competitive rents to stores and attract new businesses.

The mall has especially struggled since late January when Bon-Ton closed.

Al Boscov, owner of Boscov's Department store told Eyewitness News Thursday he is committed to the mall and is not going anywhere.

Boscov himself will address other mall tenants at a meeting Friday morning. Mall managers sent a memo to tenants, billing the event as having "exciting news."

We questioned that assertion given the foreclosure announcement.

"I think people want to know that there is a growth picture involved and prior they may not have felt that way but I think when Mr. Boscov talks to them, it will reassure them that there is a healthy picture for this mall," Banks said.

The foreclosure means the naming of a new anchor tenant to replace Bon-Ton may be on the backburner, but just temporarily.

"This will rise again," Banks said. "This will come from the ashes and continue to be a good marketplace for businesses."

Mall managers say shoppers will not see any changes during the foreclosure and business will continue as normal.
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