A Canadian firm with a deep background in developing upscale residential subdivisions is close to finalizing a deal to acquire the former Summit Park Mall.
BGS Homes Inc. of Vaughan, Ont., has the 800,000-square-foot Town of Wheatfield shopping center under contract, with the deal expected to close by the end of April. The deal was brokered by Dorothy Stahlnecker and Gunner Tronolone from M.J. Peterson Commercial Real Estate Corp.
Terms were not disclosed.
"I'd say it was 99 percent sure that we have a deal," said Ray Prajapati, BGS Homes controller.
Prajapati said the deal is being reviewed by lawyers representing his firm and won't be final until they sign off on the proposal.
If the deal closes, it will mark the second time in recent months that a major Niagara County shopping center has moved ahead with new plans. Business First reported in December that the Macerich Co. of Santa Monica, Calif. was planning a 230,000-square-foot expansion of the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, a move that will make way for 50 new stores. The expansion work is expected to start this year.
BGS Homes may also bring some stability to the Summit, which when it opened in 1972 was viewed as a major Niagara County retailing anchor. Since the late 1980s, the mall has suffered through a loss of tenants and a revolving door of owners. The most recent owners, Oberlin Plaza One LLC, filed in 2009 for Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Just three national tenants - Sears, The Bon-Ton and Save-A-Lot - remain in the mall.
Prajapati said his company is considering a number of options for the mall.
"We hope to keep it retail-based," he said.
Development plans, however, are still being tweaked.
BGS Homes' development portfolio includes the Claremont, a trendy residential subdivision near Pickering, Ont., and others in Oxford in southwestern Ontario.
The deal would be the company's first in the Buffalo Niagara region.