The bankruptcy proceeding regarding Crossings Mall in Elkview will remain frozen until a hearing scheduled for next week, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled Thursday.
In a telephone conference Thursday morning, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patrick Flatley scheduled a hearing for April 6 in Clarksburg to take up a financing plan by the mall’s owner, Tara Retail Group, headed by developer Bill Abruzzino, to build a new bridge there, nine months after floodwaters washed out the previous bridge.
Tara’s lender, COMM 2013, had filed an emergency motion for relief from the automatic stay so work on the new bridge could begin as the bankruptcy proceedings are underway.
The mall has been closed since the flood on June 23, 2016. The Kanawha County Commission late last week filed a motion asking for a status hearing in the case.
The mall was supposed to be sold in January, but the last-minute bankruptcy filing by Tara Retail delayed the sale.
A 10-hour hearing about plans for the new bridge, held earlier this month, was unproductive. A motion considered during that hearing would have allowed Tara Retail to receive post-petition financing that would allow a Bridgeport-based contracting firm, Applied Construction Solutions, to build a new bridge to the mall for $1 million.
Kanawha County officials said Thursday’s ruling and the hearing scheduled for next week are steps toward resolving the case.
“I greatly appreciate the judge’s statement that he understands the impact this case has had on the community, and further I am grateful that he made clear his intention to move this case to a resolution as expeditiously as possible,” Commission President Kent Carper said in a statement. “Time is of the essence, and the county’s goal remains to have the bridge built and to move forward.”
“I cannot stress how much the Elk community has suffered as a result of the flood and the destruction of the bridge at Crossings Mall,” Carper’s statement continued. “Today was a positive development and I am confident this matter will be resolved soon.”
Reach Lori Kersey at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-1240 or follow @LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.