A foreclosed Queens Mall and its disgruntled tenants have negotiated a deal that would keep most of the shops open and running.
Court-appointed receiver Paul Millus and tenant lawyer Boris Sorin reached an agreement in the past few weeks that provides accommodations for tenants at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale who are having a difficult time paying their rent.
Millus possesses almost complete control pending a foreclosure sale expected for early 2010. He told The Courier that he was happy tenants and owners came around and that keeping the stores in business has always been the goal.
“We are working with individual owners to try and give them some sort of breathing room without walking away from negotiations,” said Millus.
“Rent has not been lowered and the lease has not changed,” he said. “If they cannot pay today, they will pay in the future.”
In January and February of this year, storeowners in the mall stopped paying their rent and demanded a renegotiation. Without the deal currently on the table, many shop owners planned to leave the mall.
“The process is full of peaks and valleys,” said Millus. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are moving forward with the things we need to do.”
Calls to Boris Sorin were not returned as The Courier went to press, but, according to published reports, the tenants’ lawyer said, “Market conditions forced everyone to come together.”
News of the possible closings had saddened Queens residents who see the mall as a valuable resource and use the space as an escape from their fast-paced city life. For them, it’s less a mall and more a public square.
“People come here in the summer with their families and use the park like Rockaway Beach,” said Denise Rudy, 56, an office manager from Glendale. “It is absolutely beautiful here.”
With its eateries and open spaces, some residents have to remind themselves that they are still in Queens.
“There are palm trees, it’s almost like being in Florida,” said Rosetta Ackermann, 65, of Beechhurst. “It has a Zen-like quality to it.”
“Eat on the veranda overlooking the courtyard and you’ll forget you’re in Queens,” said Grace Petrullo, 65, of Bayside.
Residents will retain their mall for the foreseeable future and business is expected to improve as the nation’s economy continues to heal.
“We are wedded to the overall economy as much as any other shopping center in the country,” said Millus. “And we will see things get better through an up-tick.”