FRAZER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Mills Mall is facing foreclosure. Its owner owes nearly $143 million. But at least for now, the mall says it is business as usual.
The clouds of trouble have been over the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills almost since it opened its doors. It didn’t start with Wednesday’s foreclosure filing.
“When the big steel mills shut down, when the coal mines shut down and all the jobs in this valley shut down, that’s when they decided to build a mall, and nobody has any money to spend,” said John Kraus of Freeport.
But the owners believed the region could sustain the mall. Then the Mills Corporations went bankrupt a year after the opening, leaving Zamia’s Services on its own, and the nation’s economy tanked the next year. Except for the anchor stores, the mall has struggled since.
“It’s a shame to see, honestly,” said Suzanne Holm of Lower Burrell. “It was a beautiful mall when it first came, but there’s a lot of specialty stores, we saw a lot of stores leave.”
Wells Fargo says the creditors it represents are owed $143 million, and penalties will accrue at a rate of $28,000 a day until the foreclosure sale.
“And you see the stores going downhill, and the stores closing and that type of thing,” said Mark Jones of Home, Indiana County, “and it’s sad because I like the place, it’s clean, well-kept.”
“I’ve been in at the mall for five years, I don’t expect it to go anywhere,” employee Kassi Palmer said. “It’s new. I would imagine somebody else would buy it.”
Which is how the foreclosure process works. The mall operations never missed a beat when the Mills went belly-up.
“This will have no impact on day-to-day operations. The holiday shopping season is on, and Santa will arrive at 10:30 Saturday morning, right on schedule,” Jerry Crites, the mall’s general manager, told KDKA via phone Thursday.
“I love this place, and I hope it don’t close,” Sandra McKoy of Monroeville said.
Zamia’s Services and Wells Fargo did not comment on their perspective of the future of the mall.