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Queens Chronicle

‘A lot of interest’ in Atlas Park property

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Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2010 12:00 am

While The Shops at Atlas Park mall remains in a real-estate limbo as foreclosure proceedings plod along, the court-appointed receiver Tuesday afternoon indicated to the Chronicle that a number of potential suitors have already toured the 25-acre Glendale property.

“There’s a lot of interest in the place,” said Paul Millus of Snitow Kanfer Holtzer & Millus LLP. “But nothing is written in stone in terms of a sale date.”

Millus thinks the Cooper Avenue mall, which opened in 2006, will be up for auction at Queens Supreme Court on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica some time in October, though he’s not sure how much lending banks Credit Agricole and Societe Generale will ask for it. He said, however, it will be a “significant sum.”

“Right now there are a number of options on the table,” he said. “Obviously, money talks, and the banks are going to go with the best offer.”

The fate of the mall will be determined following the sale, and among shopowners’ concerns regarding the future of Atlas Park is attracting and retaining viable stores for the middle-class neighborhoods it serves, something that has eluded property management over the years.

“With the right mix of stores, this could be the right thing for the neighborhood,” said Fred Gerson, owner of The Fair, a home decor shop that has been at Atlas Park for a little more than three years. “I do believe the facility is a real asset to Glendale and the surrounding area.”

Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano posited that the mall could benefit from more stores and attractions that will lure younger consumers.

“There’s a lot of vacant space,” he said. “A lot of young people go to the theater there, but where do they have to shop?”

Giordano has said in the past that in the aftermath of the closure of nearby Woodhaven Lanes, a bowling alley might work at Atlas Park.

“There’s no bowling alley anywhere near us,” he said.

One clothing store owner, who did not want his name to be published, echoed Giordano’s observation regarding bringing in an adolescent demographic.

“That’s who’s at the malls — kids,” he said. “Malls attract teenagers, but there’s no place here for them to shop.”

The owner went on to suggest the Gap, Banana Republic and an Apple store as possible tenants that could financially stabilize the mall.

Contrary to a recent published report, Starbucks is still in business at Atlas Park. The restaurants, like Chili’s and Shiro of Japan, seem to be thriving, as is the aforementioned Regal Cinemas theater. But over the past four years, as Giordano alluded, many more shops have skipped town.

“There are stores that can attract people to the center,” said Gerson, while noting that business has been slow for some time. “It’s totally different for the New York experience. Unlike street shopping, this is open until 8 or 9 at night.”

Welcome to the discussion.