Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Some Mall Tenants May Stay Awhile

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Some Mall Tenants May Stay Awhile

Article excerpt

Some tenants at Washington Mall who expected to leave the property in December or January because of a planned reconstruction said they'd been invited to stay longer because of an unspecified delay in the project.

Shorty's Lunch, Dezines by Ryan and Audiologics said they were offered additional time at the mall. Other businesses said they hadn't been given an invitation to stay.

Last fall, the mall's marketing agent, JJ Gumberg Co., sought South Strabane's approval to convert the 36-year-old mall into a strip shopping center. The project received preliminary approval, but no one's returned for the final OK, township Manager John Stickle said.

One of the mall's owners, Washington lawyer Stephen Richman, said last week that he wasn't able to discuss the project. Another owner, businessman Phillip Falconi, didn't return phone calls.

Tilda Comstock, spokeswoman for Gumberg, said the project had not been delayed and predicted that a construction timetable would be announced early next year. "As far as we're concerned," she said, "we're right on schedule."

But Steve Alexas, an owner of Shorty's, said mall owners he didn't identify offered him six more months there because of a project delay. He said he was told the owners' plans "are on hold or they've changed."

Alexas, whose family had planned to relocate the mall store to Canton, said he would stay at the mall and open the new location, too.

April Ryan, owner of Dezines by Ryan, said a representative of Gumberg contacted her to offer her additional time at the mall.

But because he wouldn't tell her how much longer she could stay, she said, she's keeping plans to leave the mall after the holiday season. A mall tenant for 13 years, she said she was unsure what she'll do after that.

Bernie Russell and Ron Fecek, owners of Audiologics, are moving their hearing aid store to a professional building by Cameron Wellness Center in South Strabane.

Russell said the mall, a home to Audiologics for 35 years, gave the business a February departure date, then changed it to January. Recently, Russell said, a mall representative told him the January departure was "not as urgent. …

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