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More Lincoln Mall repairs on tap

The entrance Lincoln Mall Matteson. | File Photo

The entrance to the Lincoln Mall in Matteson. | File Photo

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Updated: July 7, 2014 6:23AM



Matteson hopes to start the process of finding a new owner for Lincoln Mall next month, and the mall’s lone anchor store has agreed to pay for additional repairs to the mall, an attorney representing the village in a court case against the mall’s owner said Thursday.

With a recent court decision giving the village more control over the indoor mall’s future, Matteson officials sometime next month could start soliciting proposals from developers interested in buying and redeveloping the 49-acre mall property at the southeast corner of U.S. 30 and Cicero Avenue, attorney Anthony Licata said.

Last August, working on the village’s behalf, his firm sued Michael Kohan, who gained ownership of the mall two years ago, alleging numerous fire and building code violations. The village filed a $9 million lien against the property, Licata said.

Matteson doesn’t technically have ownership of the mall, and a receiver appointed by a Cook County judge last summer still is overseeing the mall’s operations.

But a recent agreement worked out with Kohan and approved by the judge has Kohan agreeing not to fight the lien, and he will turn over title to whoever buys the mall, Licata said.

He said the deal would make the mall property more appealing to a potential buyer because all of the legal and financial entanglements attached to it would be cleared up. More than $1 million in property tax owed on the property would also be eliminated, Licata said.

“Nobody (potential buyers) wanted to get into this because it was such a mess,” he said. “If the village hadn’t done what it did, most prospective buyers would have been scared off by the legal mess.”

Licata said that while many of the most urgent safety repairs have been completed, other code violations need to be taken care off. Anchor store Carson Pirie Scott has agreed to pay $215,000 to finance that work, and the retailer would be repaid from the proceeds of the mall’s sale, he said.

That payment should be made by next week, and repair work would begin immediately, he said.

At this point, the lawyer said, it’s unclear how much of the village’s lien might be recouped from an eventual sale of the mall.

Matteson officials attended the recent International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, where they attempted to drum up interest in the mall. Licata said discussions were held with more than 10 prospective developers.

“They all went very well,” he said of the meetings.

The real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle is working with Matteson in finding a buyer, and Licata said village officials hope to have a sale completed by late this year or early next year.

While acknowledging Lincoln Mall is a “very dated and weary” retail center, Licata said the high traffic counts and visibility of the location work in its favor in attracting a buyer.



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