Crestwood doesn’t have capability to bid on mall site

Online auction of Crestwood Court set April 21

By Kari Williams

The city of Crestwood does not have the capability to submit a bid on Crestwood Court in the mall site’s upcoming auction, according to Mayor Jeff Schlink.

“I can tell you a lot of the people that are interested, that have been kicking the tires on the property, they have an interest in it, and then the meeting always ends with, ‘So if we find an equity partner, this is what we’d like to do,'” Schlink recently told the Board of Aldermen. “So, it’s always where does the money come from, and so we would be in that same boat …”

The mall will be put up for auction with a starting bid of $1 million, according to the

listing. Interested parties can submit bids from April 21 to April 23. Another showing of the property, which is presented by real-estate agent CBRE, will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 17.

Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding said he discussed the city’s ability to purchase the mall with other board members. Though, according to Breeding, “it sounds like that would just break the city,” he said residents “need to know” the possibility was considered.

“We don’t have the funds to do that,” Breeding said. “… It’s just something that would bankrupt the city.”

Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild said one of the board’s agreements regarding the mall was a “mixed-use concept.” As such, he said seeing that listed as the best scenario on the auction website gave him “a little bit (of) comfort.” The board has had multiple discussions – with and without developer Centrum Properties — relating to tax incentives, how to redevelop the mall and the mall’s effect on Crestwood’s economy.

“To me, it helps justify part of my position at the time with the mixed-use concept that we tried to elicit from the developer,” Duchild said. “Obviously, we didn’t get very far, but it’s out there on this website now and it sort of justifies, I think, at least an agreement that this board came up with. So I think that’s something positive out of that whole situation.”

The auction listing states, “Conversion of the center from its traditional indoor environment to a more modern, open-air mixed use concept is the most promising potential for the site and will allow an investor to unlock the inherent value of this in-fill location.”

Schlink said in his dealings with developers and property owners he emphasized the board’s recommendation of a mixed-use concept.

“It’s not to say it’s what we would approve, but I said that these were the recommendations that were being thrown out from the board at that time,” Schlink said.

Centrum Properties purchased Crestwood Court in 2008 from the Westfield Group. for $17 million. In 1998, Westfield paid $106.4 million to acquire the 1.3-million-square-foot mall from Crestwood Plaza Shopping Center, a subsidiary of Hycel Properties.