By Jon Delano

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Since 1970, the Beaver Valley Mall, right off I-376 in Center Township, has been the heart of Beaver County’s retail shopping.

“The mall is really a vital part of our overall economy in the retail district that we have here, and it’s been the center of Beaver County retail for quite some time,” said Jack Manning, president of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce.

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But locals will tell you the mall — even though anchored by major stores like Macy’s, Penney’s, Dick’s, and Boscov’s — has seen better days.

“Even from the current mall ownership, they’ve indicated that this is their worst performing asset and that they’ve been trying to sell it,” Manning told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

“Certainly if you look at the mall area, they have not invested a whole lot in it and it’s started to go downhill.”

Now sources say New York-based Namdar Realty Group has reached an agreement to buy the mall from the current Philadelphia owner, PREIT, and that has lots of people optimistic.

“There’s a lot of positive activity going on in Beaver County, particularly right in this area here, and you would hope that someone’s interest in making an investment like that would bode well for the site,” noted Jim Palmer of the Beaver County Corporation for Economic Development.

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What makes this property so attractive is about a mile away is the $6 billion Shell cracker plant, a facility that will start construction next year with 6,000 workers and ultimately have jobs for 600 people in the 2020s.

“If Beaver County’s not on your short list, you’re going to be missing the boat,” says Beaver County Commission Chair Sandie Egley.

Egley says the cracker plant has spurred interest from all over.

“This is such a huge part of the revitalization of Beaver County, and we welcome this firm from New York into Beaver County, and we look forward to the developments that are going to be happening.”

Again, no final word on the details of the agreement or on a closing date, although expected by March 2017, or what exactly this mall will look like under new ownership.

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