Fate of mall remains in limbo

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com
Mayberry Mall's parking lot is increasingly empty as more stores close and the future of the mall remains unclear. - Bill Colvard | The News Mayberry Mall’s parking lot is increasingly empty as more stores close and the future of the mall remains unclear.

A lawsuit involving the sale of Mayberry Mall was removed from the Superior Court docket before coming to trial this week and the sale of the mall continues to be in limbo.

“As we speak today, we are still engaged in contract on the property,” said Blake Pierce on Friday. Pierce is director of real estate for farm products retail chain Rural King. “We are still figuring out the transaction and pending litigation.”

The litigation is a lawsuit filed by Rural King, who is in the process of purchasing the section of the mall which formerly housed Kmart.

The company filed the action when South Carolina businessman T. Scott Smith expressed interest in buying the remaining portion of the mall. Rural King claims its purchase contract gives it first right of refusal to buy the remainder of the mall owned by Mayberry Mall, LLC. (The building which houses Belk is not included. That building is owned by Belk.)

The case was scheduled to go before a Superior Court judge in Stokes County the week of Aug. 13, but was removed from the schedule prior to the opening of court, according to Carolyn Dobbins, Superior Court Trial coordinator.

“They scheduled it, and then they requested it be removed,” said Dobbins, adding that attorneys for all three parties to the suit had made the request.

Dobbins said that even though the case originated in Surry County, it could be tried in Stokes, as both counties are in the same judicial district.

Dobbins said no one should read too much into the case being removed from the docket. She explained that might mean the parties are close to a settlement or it could mean they just wanted to postpone it.

Attorneys for the three parties, Brian Pearce of Greensboro, George D. Humphrey, III, of Winston-Salem, and Michael Bennett of King, were not immediately available for comment on Friday.

An Aug. 11 email from Mount Airy city attorney Hugh Campbell to the city’s board of commissioners and city manager read in part, “Mayberry, Rural King and Scott Smith are still in court with a hearing date scheduled later this month, but indications are that they have resolved most of their differences. Therefore, the litigation should not continue to impede closing.

On Friday, Campbell said, “I’m not privy to any information,” and referred requests for information to Bennett.

Also in the email to the board of commissioners, Campbell said that he had learned from Mayberry Mall’s attorney Robert Fuerst that Rural King is still demanding significant repairs as a condition for closing, and Mayberry is pursuing bids from contractors.

“I suppose the Owner could decide whether to make the repairs or reduce the asking price,” continued Campbell in the email. “… it makes no sense for Rural King to expect/demand these repairs, and the focus should be on an AS IS price.”

“That was proposed to us,” said Rural King’s director of real estate Pierce to the possibility of a reduction in price for taking the property in its present condition. “We would entertain that, but haven’t been able to work something out.”

“In addition to the impasse about repairs and cost, Rural King and Mayberry are still in negotiations to secure the terms of cross easements with the owners of Libby Hill and Coaches for an access through these parking lots to the Mall,” continued the email from Campbell to the board.

Mayberry Mall’s parking lot is increasingly empty as more stores close and the future of the mall remains unclear.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_IMG_1235.jpgMayberry Mall’s parking lot is increasingly empty as more stores close and the future of the mall remains unclear. Bill Colvard | The News Mayberry Mall’s parking lot is increasingly empty as more stores close and the future of the mall remains unclear.

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.