City still working on mall deal; no deal for Christmas

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The city of Austin’s deal to purchase Oak Park Mall isn’t done yet.

The Austin Port Authority held a closed meeting Tuesday to get an update on the city’s negotiations to buy the mall. The city is discussing the mall sale with several companies and the mall’s owners, Chicago-based Martin Graff of M H Graff & Associates Inc. and Martin Goldman of M J Goldman & Co. Ltd.

The city had hoped to conclude its $3.2 million purchase agreement to buy the mall property by Dec. 23, but Finance Director Tom Dankert said negotiations weren’t done but were moving forward.

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“I’m still positive, based on our current negotiations,” Dankert said.

City officials must work out a purchase agreement to buy the property with the mall’s current landlords, as well as with Shopko, Younkers and Cinemagic 7 representatives who all have agreements with the landlords.

Dankert said the city was still discussing contingencies and contracts will all entities involved. City officials are hoping the deal will come together over the next few weeks, however.

The Hormel Foundation granted the $3.2 million to the city to purchase the site, while the city is expected to demolish most of the mall to make way for a 60,000- to 90,000-square-foot Hy-Vee grocery store.

The city’s purchase agreement includes acquisition of the entire mall facility — except Shopko, which is owned by the retailer — located at 1301 18th Ave. NW and an additional out lot located along 18th Avenue Northwest. That includes the mall property, Younkers and CineMagic 7.