UPDATE: Area mall owners monitoring Bon-Ton auction closely
Area mall owners are following the struggles of Bergner's parent company Bon-Ton closely, and are not expressing much hope about the store's fate in the ongoing auction proceedings.
CBL Properties, the owners of Bloomington's Eastland Mall, responded yesterday to reports of Bon-Ton's continuing auction in New York. Only two liquidation companies have entered bids for the ailing department store chain so far. Bon-Ton filed for bankruptcy in February.
"We are certainly disappointed with the outcome, but this is an opportunity to continue to evolve our properties through transformative anchor redevelopments. We have been monitoring this situation closely and we have been working on contingency plans for each center impacted. We have several replacements under advanced negotiation. We will announce more details when plans are formalized and leases have been executed," said a CBL spokeswoman in a statement.
CBL said they have a successful track record of replacing or redeveloping anchor store locations, with more than 40 redevelopment projects over the past three years and more underway.
CBL noted Bon-Ton has not informed them of any store closures at this time.
"We have been following all of the developments of Bon-Tons recent bankruptcy announcement. To date we’ve not received any official word regarding the closing of our Bergner’s at The Shoppes at Grand Prairie, thus it is business as usual," said a spokeswoman for JLL Retail, the owners of the Shoppes at Grand Prairie in Peoria. "Typically these announcements are a formality to comply with the WARN Notice. The store looks terrific and is full of spring/summer merchandise offerings for our customers. If there is a change in the status of the store, we will treat it as we do with any transitional space – as an opportunity to enhance the retail offerings and best meet the demands of our customers.
Cullinan, the owners of Pekin's East Court Village, said they also have not been notified by Bon-Ton of an imminent closure, but are "disappointed" with the direction things appear to be headed.
A federal bankruptcy judge is expected to sign off on the auction's high bidder upon the conclusion of proceedings.