The Foundry at South Strabane is a former shopping center near Washington, Pennsylvania. Portions of the mall were abandoned and later demolished after the ground settled, causing several structures to develop structural issues.


History

The Foundry at South Strabane, a 575,000 square-feet shopping center, was proposed by Premier Properties USA in 2005 on an abandoned strip mine.7

The first major tenant to locate at The Foundry was JCPenny’s in February 2007 1 after it relocated from the nearby Washington Mall. Other tenants included Ross Dress for Less and Bed Bath & Beyond.3 Max and Erma’s opened October 15.Leases for other retailers had been signed but they never occupied the shopping center.7

Built atop an old mine dump and a steep hillside, the complex began developing structural issues due to ground settling. At the same time, the property owner, Premier Properties of Indianapolis, began experiencing financial difficulties that eventually led to the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 23, 2008.3 4 Premier listed $2.8 million in debts to 20 creditors, which did not include millions of dollars in unpaid bills. On May 30, the judge reclassified the bankruptcy to Chapter 7 liquidation.

On May 21, Bed, Bath & Beyond closed their store, followed by Ross Dress for Less the day after. On June 6, JCPenny’s closed their store at The Foundry and reopened in mid-September at its location at the Washington Mall.2

Premier founder and CEO Christopher White was charged with three felonies in Marion County, Indiana on June 16.3 4 Carl Brizzi, the prosecutor for the county, stated that White had knowingly defrauded The National Bank of Indianapolis by depositing $500,000 backed by insufficient funds, committed check fraud and stole at least $100,000 from the bank. White also faced lawsuits alleging loan defaults and illegal rent payments.

Following White’s conviction, The Foundry was posted for sheriff’s sale twice, but each time the sale was postponed.7

The Staenberg Group of St. Louis, Missouri purchased the failed development and announced on January 22, 2013 that it would demolish all of the stores damaged by land subsidence and may remove part of a large retaining wall.The only tenants at The Foundry included an Olive Garden and Max and Erma’s.

Redevelopment

In January 2013, demolition began of the six former in-line stores.In February 2014, the Staenberg Group renamed The Foundry to The Old Mill and announced two new tenants, Hobby Lobby and Field & Stream, with projected openings in the fall.8

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