Midtown Mall sold, city wants to hear new owner's plans

  • Midtown Mall photo courtesy of Worcester Sun

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    Midtown Mall, abutting property sold for $4 million

    The Midtown Mall, whose owners faced a 30-day deadline to provide detailed plans on their revitalization efforts for the deteriorating mall, has been sold.

    Owners Dean and Judith Marcus sold the mall and 12 Front Street for $4 million to developer Felicio Lana in a sale recorded at the Registry of Deeds on Friday afternoon.

    The Marcuses, who have long drawn the ire of Worcester's business, political and civic leaders for failing to maintain their buildings, appeared at a well-attended and contentious meeting of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority on April 4.

    The WRA, which targeted the buildings for acquisition and rehabilitation in its Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan, gave the couple 30 days to produce in writing detailed plans for how they intended to address the property's shortcomings or risk having it taken by eminent domain.

    An article on MassLive quoted Redevelopment Authority member Michael Angelini as saying: “I think it is essential that we see in writing what you propose to do. Your credibility is an issue."

    The sale ended the couple's long ownership of the historic mall and its five-story neighbor. The mall, formerly the Woolworth Building, is on the Mass. Cultural Resource Information System’s list of historic buildings, as is 12 Front St., which traces its construction back to 1851.

    12 Front St. photo courtesy of Worcester Sun

    Lana had long been rumored to be a potential buyer of the property. A MassLive article in October 2017 noted his interest. Lana owns a number of downtown properties, including 44 and 50 Front St. (below)

    Photo: City of Worcester

    In addition, Lana owns, among other buildings, 418 Main St., 79-87 Pleasant St., 86 Pleasant St.

    The purchase means Lana owns nearly the entire block, except for 38 Front St.

    UPDATE: City Manager Ed Augustus comments, courtesy of Hank Stolz

    Here is what the City (@TweetWorcester) had to say about the sale of the Midtown Mall,

    "The City and the WRA extend an invitation to meet with Mr. Lana and look forward to hearing his plans for the future of the buildings and their tenants." -City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.

    — Talk of the Commonwealth (@CommonTalkPod) May 5, 2019


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