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Editorial: Mall owner has his attention elsewhere

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opinion Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

Daily Globe

We can’t help but wonder if the people of Tulsa, Okla., have any idea of what they have in the buyer of a mall in that city.

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The July 3 Tulsa World reported the Tulsa Promenade mall had been purchased by New York-based real estate investor Mike Kohan. If that name rings a bell, it’s because Kohan has been the owner of Worthington’s Northland Mall since Dec. 31, 2008, when a transfer of ownership from Developers Diversified Realty to Kohan became official.

Anyone who has been reading this newspaper over the last few weeks should have a sense of what’s been happening with at least a portion of the Northland Mall property. The former Kmart building was declared hazardous by the Worthington City Council during its Aug. 12 meeting, following a June inspection that found a litany of code violations in the building. The inspection came after a drug arrest outside the site resulted in methamphetamine and meth-related paraphernalia being discovered in the building.

In declaring the building hazardous, the city noted that it waited in vain for 30 days for a reply from the site’s ownership as to how to address the multiple issues there. Apparently, Kohan was too busy closing on the Tulsa real estate deal to worry about Worthington — which may be a stretch, considering the lack of attention he has given the property in the past.

Besides the deteriorating condition of the old Kmart building — as well as the primary mall structure that hosts an ever-dwindling number of businesses — the mall’s management group apparently feels paying taxes is optional. A total of $141,081.61, including penalties and interest, was owed as of earlier this month.

And Worthington, seemingly, isn’t alone as far as troubled malls under Kohan’s ownership, as one can ascertain by a little web surfing. Yet, he is still able to complete a $12.3 million deal in Tulsa.

Oklahomans, don’t say you weren’t warned.

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