City, bank still hope to move forward with SP Mall plans - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

City, bank still hope to move forward with Stevens Point Mall plans

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -- Rumors have floated around about problems with closing the sale of the Stevens Point Mall. Both the mayor and the mall owner said they still hope to work out a deal.

The city of Stevens Point began talks with the mall's owner to buy the mall back in September and they planned to have an agreement on Tuesday morning. But that didn't happen.

"It's been very frustrating," said Valley Bank senior vice president Steve Janney.

Timing has been an issue throughout. The current owners at Valley Bank wanted to close before the end of 2010. Now, months later, there are still a few issues to work out.

"Valley Bank has to understand where the city is," said Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson. "We're a government. Number one, we don't move fast, by design. So we make sure there's enough time and enough process to work through things."

But neither side has given up on the project.

"We're all in this together until we come to a logical resolution," said Janney.

In order to move forward, other groups need to be on board besides just the city and the bank. Shopko leaders still need to come to an agreement. Dunhams and the Community Development Authority need to approve the plan as well.

"That simply states that it has to be run as a mall unless all parties agree to make the change," said Janney.

"We fully intend to close with Valley Bank probably within a couple of weeks on this facility," said Halverson. "$1.875 million, which was the number we had talked about with them all along."

In order to finalize plans, the city wants to make sure taxes are prorated, an agreement with Shopko becomes finalized and any environmental concerns get addressed. But Mayor Halverson said he is confident the city will be able to move forward with its plans for the mall soon.

"It isn't dead," said Halverson. "The lines of communication are very much open between the parties and we fully intend to work it out voluntarily between the city and Valley Bank."

The mayor wants to move the Mid-State Technical College Campus to one of the mall's empty wings. Plans for the rest of the mall are still up for debate.

Halverson said the city has offered to cover the costs the bank racks up since the process has taken longer than they anticipated.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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