Senator Chuck Schumer was at ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt Thursday afternoon urging LNR Property, which owns the mall, to work with the town to create a redevelopment plan.
Schumer says that since LNR Partners took control of the mall in 2011, they have been completely silent in response to the Townâ??s outreach for answers.
"We just are demanding a very simple thing. Some answers. Some communication. Some conversation - so we know what they're going to do," said Schumer.
LNR Partners responded to CNY Central today with a statement. A spokesperson said LNR only represnts the trust holding ShoppingTown's defaulted debt and is working to keep the property maintained and leased.
The statement said, "A CMBS Trust is precluded under IRS regulations from undertaking a long-term redevelopment of the complex. Rather, it is our responsibility to serve as responsible stewards of the property, identify possible avenues of increasing value and market it for eventual sale to outside developers."
Schumer is urging LNR Property to make their intentions clear since, he says, they are critical for the Town of DeWitt and Onondaga County to plan their budgets.
"While Iâ??m not pushing for a specific development plan, I am calling on LNR to provide answers to the Town of Dewitt so that they can budget, plan and redevelop the area based on reality, not guesswork," said Schumer.
ShoppingTown Mall is currently assessed at $53,345,000. DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko says it pays $268,000 in property taxes to the town and $306,000 to Onondaga County. The mall also pays $1.2 million each year to the Jamesville-DeWitt school district.
The statement from LNR Partners said "We understand that the future of the ShoppingTown Mall is of great interest and importance to the community, and we are happy to engage in a productive and ongoing dialogue with Senator Schumer as well as officials representing the Town of Dewitt and Onondaga County."
LNR Property has hired Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to manage ShoppingTown Mall which operates in excess of 90% occupancy. In a statement, the company said "LNR will continue to make sure the necessary resources are available for the mallâ??s continued operation."
The statement from LNR said that the company would be happy to talk with Senator Schumer or the town of DeWitt. LNR says they have "recently met with the town director and a deputy in an effort to get a better sense of the potential redevelopment scenarios that would be available to future owners of the facility."