NY bank lone bidder for Fairgrounds Square Mall in Muhlenberg

Fairgrounds Square Mall sold; NY bank lone bidder

PHILADELPHIA - A troubled shopping mall in Berks County now has a new owner.

The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company bought the Fairgrounds Square Mall in Muhlenberg Township for $13.6 million during a U.S. Marshal auction in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The bank, which was the mortgage holder for the mall's former owner, was the lone bidder at the auction, said a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal's office.

A federal judge still needs to approve the sale.

The mall, with many empty storefronts, entered into foreclosure after its owner, GP-Fairgrounds Square LP, defaulted on its mortgage, according to federal court documents.

The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, now the mall's new owner, was owed more than $44 million in payments and interest, officials said.

The bank has not said what its plans are for the mall, which opened in 1980 on the site of the former Reading Fairgrounds.

Township officials have said they've been told the sale will likely have no impact on the mall's dwindling number of tenants, which include Bath & Bodyworks, Schuylkill Valley Sports, Chef Alan's restaurant and a 10-screen movie theater. Boscov's and Burlington Coat Factory serve as two of the mall's anchor stores.

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