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Owners pledge to revitalize Century III

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 1:26 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
A new day may be dawning for Century III Mall, after Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC closed a deal to purchase the West Mifflin retail complex for $10.5 million. Moonbeam senior vice president Shawl Pryor said his firm 'is committed to providing our retailers and customers a comfortable (and) pleasant shopping experience.'

One of the new owners of Century III Mall emphasized his firm's commitment to the community when he joined other business and civic leaders at Friday's Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast.

“We are committed to giving the mall back to the community so they can bring their children for an experience that is more than a shopping experience,” said Shawl Pryor, senior vice president of Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC.

Pryor said his company on Monday afternoon closed a $10.5 million deal with C-III Capital Partners LLC of Irving, Texas, for the 86.75-acre property.

“Moonbeam Capital is committed to providing our retailers and customers a comfortable, pleasant shopping experience,” Pryor said.

“We're extremely pleased with Moonbeam,” Mayor Chris Kelly said. “We expect that Century III will be the showplace of the South Hills once again.”

In 2011, C-III bought the mall for $1 from Simon Property Group, which had done business since 1986 as Century III Associates.

The move followed Simon's voluntary default on $78.97 million in debt on the 34-year-old, 1.3 million-square-foot mall.

C-III turned over management of the mall to Jones Lang LaSalle Retail.

“We are the nation's largest real estate management company,” JLL vice president and regional marketing manager Carol O'Grady said in a 2011 interview. “We (handle) third-party management only for shopping centers. We do not own any of (those) properties. We service the client and owner of the property.”

Pryor commended Kelly and borough manager Brian Kamauf for their efforts.

“I've been working on this project for three years,” the mayor said. “I worked very closely with Jones Lang LaSalle.”

Pryor said it usually takes about 90 days to review a market.

“It was a little different for the Century III Mall,” the Moonbeam executive said. “Century III Mall had some life in it. We saw huge potential to revitalize the Century III Mall.”

Pryor sees the mall as a center of attention between the Waterfront and South Hills Village. It sits in the midst of a retail area that includes Century Square and Southland shopping center and a Walmart.

C-III was known on the Allegheny County real estate web site as JPM 2002 C2 3075 Clairton Rd Fee LLC. The mall's address is 3075 Clairton Road.

The mall's taxable value remains in question. Allegheny County previously assessed the property at $27 million — but Moonbeam inherited the JLL appeal of a $130 million reassessment.

“The appeal is still pending,” Pryor said.

Simon also owns Ross Park Mall and South Hills Village. The company's 2010 report to investors said those malls had better than 94 percent occupancy, while Century III was down to 76.1 percent.

Century III is Moonbeam's first acquisition in the Pittsburgh market.

Pryor believes his company can overcome “the lack of attention given to the mall by our predecessor.” He hailed the decision of anchors Macy's, JC Penney, Sears and Dick's Sporting Goods as well as other national chains to stay at the facility.

“There was something about Century III Mall that kept those tenants there,” Pryor said.

Moonbeam also has malls in Burlington County, N.J., outside Philadelphia; suburban Orlando, Fla.; Baton Rouge, La.; Marshalltown, Iowa, 45 miles northeast of Des Moines; Marion, Ind., about 20 miles southwest of Fort Wayne; and Greeley, Colo., about 40 miles north of Denver.

Staff writer Eric Slagle contributed to this story. Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967.

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