The Shops at Atlas Park seeks buyer

The Glendale mall, The Shops at Atlas Park, which went into foreclosure in February of 2009, is now seeking a buyer.

Leading up to its opening in the spring of 2006, Damon Hemmerdinger, who led the development and management of the $125 million “lifestyle center,” said that the facility “is something that will be here for 100 years."

Now, 14 months after Hemmerdinger’s ATCO Properties & Management relinquished control to their French lenders and the Mattone Group’s management stint has come to an end, that future is uncertain.

Michael Mattone, who directed the management of Atlas Park as chief financial officer of the Mattone Group, said his company’s departure from the center was not the result of any dispute or misunderstanding. In fact, he said he sees a bright future for the Cooper Avenue mall.

“I think the park is a beautiful asset,” Mattone said, underscoring the “phenomenal density” surrounding it. “I think as the economy starts to firm up and people get back to work, those disposable dollars are going to go somewhere and I think Atlas will pick up as a result of that.”

But before that happens, multinational real estate corporation CB Richard Ellis, which recently took over from Mattone, must secure a buyer – essentially, a visionary that will lead Atlas Park into its second decade of operation.

An auction will likely take place within the next few months.

Community Board 5 chair Vincent Arcuri Jr. said the mall “was a good idea. It was done well. It just wasn’t populated well.” He pointed to prohibitive lease agreements that deterred well-known retailers by stipulating how close to the mall they could operate other stores.

“It is a destination location,” he went on. “You have to want to go there. All the good quality shops that the kids like and even the adults like will not sign their agreements.”

In fact, VJ Kemraj and his companion Reshma Teakram, both in their early 20s, said Atlas Park needs more “teenager stores.” The pair said they frequent the movie theater, Borders, Claire’s and Cold Stone Creamery, “but that’s about it.”

Likewise, Stephanie Dombrowski, her friend Cathy Misiak, and Misiak’s elderly mother, Catherine Misiak, said they need a Gap or another store that caters to the Glendale demographic and income level.

“They need to put in stores like in the regular malls,” Cathy said. “The only thing that’s making it in here now are the restaurants.”

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