ESCANABA - The Delta Plaza Mall has officially entered the foreclosure process.
According to a legal notice, Delta County Circuit Court entered a money judgment on Jan. 10 in favor of plaintiff and creditor Dougherty Funding, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and against defendants and debtors Rubloff Delta, LLC, and guarantors Gerald H. Weber, Jr., Ronald E. Swenson, and Robert S. Brownson, in regard to the mall property.
The judgment amount was not paid in a timely manner and on Feb. 22, Circuit Court entered an order granting the plaintiff's motion to sell the land and personal property.
Ross Pope is a senior project manager at Amicus Management in Grand Rapids, which was appointed manager of the Delta Plaza Mall property in August 2012, when the court appointed them as receiver at a motion to appoint receivership submitted by Dougherty Funding.
"Rubloff, out of Rockford, Ill., has been a developer and owner of 50 to 60 pieces of property similar to the Delta Plaza Mall throughout the Midwest," explained Pope, noting Rubloff has had financial problems with multiple entities of theirs, some of which Amicus Management also oversees.
A sheriff's deed sale is scheduled for April 26 at 10 a.m. at the entrance of the Delta County Courthouse. On March 4, circuit court entered an order setting the upset price for the plaintiff's bid at the foreclosure sale of real and personal property at $3,248,972.80.
"This is a situation where the debtor owes the creditor, who is Dougherty Funding, significantly more than the value of the property," said Pope, adding the reason for the sale is to foreclose out Rubloff so they cannot claim any interest in the property. Pope had no further information on how much debt was attached to the property as of Monday afternoon.
Amicus Management will remain manager of the Delta Plaza Mall and Pope asserts this will not affect any of the tenants located within the building. He said under Amicus Management, the mall has made some positive repairs to the building so it can become more attractive to a long-term ownership group.
These include roof and HVAC improvements, with additional plans for the spring and summer in an effort to draw additional tenants to the building.
The Delta Plaza Mall opened for business in November 1970 and, according to its website, currently has 16 tenants. The mall is a member of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce.
"Over the years, we have had many meetings with Rubloff representatives and offered our assistance on ways to improve the image and retail occupancy of the mall and to share the challenges expressed by prospective tenants," said Vickie Micheau, executive director of the DCCC.
"We have always had a good working relationship with the local mall managers, who were receptive to new ideas and they shared our desire to attract new and support existing tenants," she said.
Vicki Schwab, director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance said the EDA's goal has always been to do what they can to help improve occupancy at the mall.
"For the area, we view this as an opportunity for new owners or investors to come in and reinvent the mall," said Schwab. "And when that happens we will continue to do everything possible to support their efforts."