Independence Center to enter foreclosure sale on Friday

Independence Center is up for sale and could have new owners by the weekend. (KCTV5)

Friday will mark a big day for metro shoppers.

Independence Center is going up for sale and could have new owners by the weekend.

The Simon Property Group currently runs the mall. They own big malls across the country but no longer list Independence Center on their website.

Currently, the mall is $200 million in debt right now. Payment was due in July but was never presented.

Tom Lesnak, President of the Independence Council for Economic Development, says, no matter what, the sale won’t have a big impact.

He says he is confident that a new owner will be announced in the coming days and that the mall will stay open.

David and Diana Noltensmeyer, of Lexington, MO, say they shopped at the mall as children and would be sad to see it go.

"We bought our wedding rings here at Helzberg, so, I’m kind of concerned about where I’m going to go if they foreclose, and it’s scary. It’s sad,” Diana Noltensmeyer said.

The Noltensmeyers say the mall provides a great service to their family and others like them.

"Little country towns like we live in, in Lexington, this is the only place to go,” Diana Noltenmeyer said. "We just hope it stays, you know it’s a good place to shop and things, all in one place, it would be sad to see it go.”

Chris Marks, of Independence, MO, says the mall has more of a sentimental value to people than anything else.

“Sad, I’ve been coming out here since I was a little kid. But it’s just sort of destiny,” Marks said. "Its been a part of Independence for a long time. Always emotion behind it.”

Marks says he has seen a similar situation happening throughout the country.

“Well it’s destiny, it’s destined to happen in the big malls," Marks said. "It’s obvious. Just watching what’s going on around the country, we travel the country, and it’s not just here, it’s everywhere else that it happens too.”

Those with the city said that they are confident the mall will be bought and then it's up to developers to determine what happens next.

Dr. J. Snorgrass with Avila University said that we need only look at other malls to see what could happen and that, on the other side, there is a potential for growth.

"There's been a lot of proposals on what to do with that space, but it's got to meet with the public's demand and fulfill the criteria of things they want to see," Snorgrass said. "If it doesn't meet that, then we're gonna have the same problem again with another eyesore or white elephant that doesn't make any money for the developers and the city."

He said that, if development is to happen, you can expect more of a mixed-use type of area with amenities that make the mall more of an attraction rather than just an area for shopping.

The area has seen a recent increase in crime, including the murder of a metro teen in January.

Over the past six months, crimes have ranged from sexual assault to burglary, but the highest reported crime was theft.

The only other enclosed mall is the Oak Park Mall in Johnson County, KS. The mall recently announced that Nordstrom is leaving and moving to the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO.

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