Century III Mall In West Mifflin Slides Into Retail Abyss

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jay Natale had a good year in 1979.

The Steelers won the Super Bowl. The Pirates won the World Series. And Natale opened a sporting goods store in the new Century III Mall in West Mifflin.

“The first year was unbelievable,” Natale, 70, of Elizabeth said, recalling a mobbed grand opening at the mall. “We hit the jackpot on that one.”

The jackpot lasted for nearly 20 years.

Since then, the mall has spiraled downward, losing customers, retailers and property value, which drained hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes from West Mifflin and its school district.

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Century III New Owner Seeks To Reverse Vacancy Trend With New Theater

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The owner of Century III is betting that a movie theater could help revitalize the struggling West Mifflin mall.

Las Vegas-based Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC, which bought the mall in May, said it is negotiating with two national chains with a Pittsburgh-area presence to open a first-run movie theater with stadium seating in Century III. Shawl L. Pryor, senior vice president of real estate, won’t name the companies because no lease has been signed.

Contending with a high vacancy rate, about 32 percent, and low foot traffic, the 34-year-old mall needs an entertainment component as part of its revitalization, Moonbeam said.

“We believe that it’s a very important aspect of why people go back to the mall. It’s not just to buy clothing anymore,” Moonbeam Chief Executive Officer Steven Maksin said.

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Motor City Lessons For Reading

City officials were shocked, saddened, thankful and relieved by their three-day bus trip to Detroit that began Nov. 13.

The fast-paced tour, paid for entirely by two local foundations, was to see what progress the Motor City has made in its own painful recovery, and what efforts there might work in Reading.

As Detroit’s Big Three automakers declined, tax revenues dropped and more than half its 1.8 million residents moved out. The city had to cut services such as fire suppression and police from large sections of the city.

But now, with help from foundations and businesses, it’s making numerous coordinated moves to rebuild.

Reasd more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=432745