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Regional manager remains positive about Century III Mall's future

| Thursday, July 10, 2014, 7:50 a.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Sears said a liquidation sale will begin Friday at its Century III Mall location. The company announced it plans to close the store in December.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
The former Macy's Furniture outlet in Century III Mall will be demolished as well to make room for a multiplex theater that will be connected to the rest of the mall with a hallway occupying part of the existing food court.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Much of that parking deck has been cordoned off for some time. While part of the deck near the Sears store will remain, the rest will be demolished to make way for a multiplex theater expected to open in about a year.

The regional manager of Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC properties told West Mifflin officials on Wednesday that there will be demolition at Century III Mall.

“There is a theater that we are going to start developing,” John Sabino told borough council at its monthly agenda workshop meeting.

Demolition of the Macy's Furniture store, a former mall anchor, and part of a parking deck will provide room for the multiplex theater. Sabino said it would take up to four months to complete the demolition, then six or seven months to build the new multi-screen complex.

“We're hoping by this time next year to have it up and running,” said Sabino, a part of Las Vegas-based Moonbeam's executive team who serves as Century III's general manager.

“You are going to see a lot of good retailers who are going to come on board with that cinema.”

A Mexican restaurant is coming, cosmetic outlets reportedly are interested in the mall, and a Halloween City outlet will open for a seven-month stay on Monday.

Sabino said a “West Coast retailer” is interested in the same location as Halloween City, near Dick's Sporting Goods.

“We have a new double-decker carousel that is being built where that new Mexican restaurant is going to be,” the Century III manager said.

All of this could mark a turnaround for a mall for which many obituaries have been written in recent years.

“Perception is the key here,” council president Michael Moses said. “And you are fighting the perception of a dead mall.”

Mayor Chris Kelly is helping with that fight.

“I'm very involved with the mayor,” Sabino said.

Former owner Simon Property Group hung up when borough officials tried to call, Kelly said.

“There was no interaction with us,” the mayor told council. “We're sitting in a good position now.”

There are those interested in hotels and restaurants in the vicinity of a revitalized mall, Sabino said, but “we're trying to bring people back inside the mall.”

Overhauls in and out were announced at the council meeting. Sabino said new carpeting, laminating and lighting is slated inside, while “we will be redoing the entire outside paving.”

He declined to name the companies either signing or about to sign contracts, but he could drop two names of existing mall outlets.

“Our anchors are doing fantastic,” Sabino said, with the J.C. Penney store topping sales in the Pittsburgh region and an auto repair outlet in Sears topping other Sears auto facilities.

However, he went on, “a lot of people go into the Sears and the Penney's and then go back outside,” without moving on to the rest of the mall.

While Macy's Furniture is gone, an original Macy's department store and Dick's remain as the other mall anchors.

The 35-year-old mall may see new life in other ways. Sabino told council he wants to bring in outlet stores, such as what is found at malls in Grove City and near the Meadows racetrack and casino in Washington County.

In other growth-related developments at Wednesday's workshop, community development director Walter B. Anthony said he and the mayor will meet on Thursday with representatives of Pull-A-Part to discuss plans by the Atlanta-based used auto parts company to build a facility on the former General Motors Pittsburgh Metal Stamping or Fisher Body location near U.S. Steel's Irvin Plant.

Anthony said the company wanted to discuss the procedure for getting needed permits from the borough's planning commission and council.

Council's workshop opened with a public hearing that ended with a vote to approve B&R Holdings' conditional use application for a contractors yard on the former Prism site along Buttermilk Hollow Road.

B&R agreed to pay the borough's fees and to complete work on the yard in a six-month period. The agreement ended a three-year dispute over B&R's plans.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or

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