owner of Whitehall Mall files for bankruptcy | Regional News from Lehigh Valley
WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. – The owner of Whitehall Mall in Lehigh Valley has filed for bankruptcy.
Washington Prime Group, the real estate investment trust that owns about 100 shopping centers across the United States, including the Whitehall Mall, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday, according to documents online.
The Columbus, Ohio-based company said challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to file for bankruptcy.
The Washington Prime Group said it plans to continue the mall’s operations throughout the restructuring process.
“If the malls are closed, tenants don’t make money, then tenants pay their rent. So that causes a cascading downfall,” said Charles Laputka, an Allentown-based bankruptcy attorney.
The mall is located directly across from the Lehigh Valley Mall. PREIT, co-owner of this shopping center, filed for bankruptcy last year. Laputka believes we’ll see more deposits when the moratoriums on rents and mortgages are lifted at the end of the month.
“I think after things come to a standstill on June 30, it will be July, August and September that we really start to see people file for bankruptcy,” Laputka said.
The company is seeking a $ 100 million loan to keep normal operations going during the process, which means it’s still unclear whether Whitehall Mall will close.
The Washington Prime Group has not clarified.
“Over the next few weeks, they will determine which of the properties are best selling and which are maintained,” said Laputka.