SCRANTON — The close of business today found the Mall at Steamtown with a new owner.
John Basalyga, a local businessman who prevailed at an auction of the property on June 24 with a bid of $5.25 million, closed on the property late in the day, with the deed expected to be recorded at the Lackawanna County Courthouse on Tuesday, reflecting the transfer of the property from LNR, Partners.
A buyer’s premium of five percent made the total price $5.512 million.
“The mall at Steamtown is one of the most significant pieces of commercial real estate in Northeastern Pennsylvania and a landmark in downtown Scranton,” Basalyga said in a news release.
He said he was excited and honored to be involved in its future.
Basalyga seemingly rescued the 22-year-old mall, which had been on a steady decline, struggling to compete with the Shoppes at Montage in Moosic, Viewmont Mall in Dickson City and the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre.
It filed for bankruptcy in March 2014.
Looking forward, Basalyga said that while the last four weeks had been consumed by the complex details of the purchase, “Now begins the work of getting our arms around the business.”
According to the release, Basalyga owns Eastern Roofing Systems Inc., a company that install roofs on commercial and industrial building throughout a 12-state area. He has real estate development experience through his ownership of JBAS Realty LLC and JBAS Holdings Inc. and of a number of buildings in the area created from repurposed industrial structures as well as other commercial property endeavors.
Basalyga also owns Old Brook Inn, a restaurant in Spring Brook Township near Scranton that opened in 2014.
In the news release, Basalyga acknowledged the financial challenges presenting the mall, including Kay Jewelers leaving the retail complex at the end of its lease. He said he was aware of that development before bidding on the property.
The 558,816-square-foot, two-story facility has about 47 active storefronts and 23 shuttered ones. The food court, built to accommodate 10 eateries, has two that remain operational — Roman Delight Pizza and Subway.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6117 or on Twitter @TLGGibbons