Washington Prime Committed to DeBartolo Commons despite Financial Woes

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Washington Prime Group remains committed to the DeBartolo Commons athletic and entertainment complex at Southern Park Mall in Boardman, despite its troubled financial situation.

In a statement released today, the Columbus-based real estate Investment trust said it is negotiating with  its debtors to get on stronger financial footing. The company operates about 100 malls nationwide, including Southern Park.

Earlier this week, Washington Prime reported it lost $111.4 million in the fourth quarter and would default on a $23.2 million interest payment due Wednesday. The company acknowledged it may need to restructure through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

But it will be business as usual at the mall as Washington Prime deals with its financial challenges, which it said were caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company expects the negotiations with its creditors will allow it to “significantly strengthen its financial position,” according to the statement.  

Last year, Washington Prime began work on DeBartolo Commons, a major project designed to transform the former Sears space into a focal point of the community. The four-acre space, part of a $30 million remake of the mall property, is scheduled to open in October.

The project would create a massive greenspace with an amphitheater and athletic fields, while several new sports and entertainment businesses and restaurants will front the green space of the Commons.

Partnership and programming details for DeBartolo Commons will be announced closer to its opening.

The Bunker, an indoor golf center, along with its attached restaurant, Bogey’s; and Steel Valley Brew Works are expected to open a few weeks before DeBartolo Commons’ grand opening.Washington Prime is in discussions with other local and regional companies for another restaurant-bar that would occupy the final space in the redevelopment. Other improvements underway in the mall and its outlying property will continue and are on schedule, according to the company.

Planet Fitness is expected to open its new location in April. Macy’s, one of the mall’s two remaining anchor stores, has begun a renovation, and PNC Bank recently completed a refresh of its Market Street location.

The public restrooms, both in the food court and near Chick-fil-A, are scheduled for full renovations this summer, ahead of a full interior mall refresh that will begin in January. 

Plans call for the creation of a hiking and biking path across the mall property that will connect DeBartolo Commons to Boardman Park and eventually to the neighborhoods south of U.S. Route 224.

Also in the works are major storm water retention facilities on the mall property that will relieve the potential for flooding in neighborhoods immediately to the south.

Pictured: A rendering of the DeBartolo Commons development at Southern Park Mall.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.