Uncertain future for Miami County mall

J.C. Penney’s announcement it would close its Piqua location meant the loss of the Miami Valley Centre Mall’s third anchor tenant in the past three years.

caption arrowCaption
J.C. Penney’s announcement it would close its Piqua location meant the loss of the Miami Valley Centre Mall’s third anchor tenant in the past three years.

J.C. Penney’s announcement it would close its Piqua location meant the loss of the Miami Valley Centre Mall’s third anchor tenant in the past three years.

When the J.C. Penney closing is complete, the mall at the corner of U.S. 36 and Interstate 75 in northern Miami County will have one of its four anchor spots in operation with Dunham’s Sports. Leaving before J.C. Penney were Elder Beerman department store and Sears in 2017 and 2018.

Among remaining stores in the mall, are Claire’s, Bath and Body Works, GNC and Christopher and Banks.

“J.C. Penny has been a part of the Piqua community dating back to when the store was located on Main Street, so the closing of the store is, of course, disappointing,” said Chris Schmiesing, Piqua’s community and economic development director.

The mall was purchased late last year by the Kohan Retail Investment Group. Company officials failed to respond to requests for information on the mall and plans for its future.

On its website Kohan Retail Investment Group states the company “sees the future of aging malls as a place for more than just shopping. They are social settings where people interact with one another and small businesses can get a boost in a public and well-trafficked platform.”

The new owners have hired a leasing agent, Schmiesing said. The agent told the city the owners “plan to push for entertainment, arts and restaurants,” he said.

Kathy Sherman president of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce said the departure of J.C. Penney is a loss for the community as well as the mall. There were rumors in the past that the store might close before the company filed bankruptcy and included the Piqua store on its closing list released earlier in June.

“It saddens me to lose anything in Piqua,” Sherman said.

“I am hopeful we can breathe new life into that (property),” she said, adding the mall site is highly visible at the I-75 and U.S. 36 interchange.

Among suggested uses have been an outlet facility because there is not anything like that nearby, Sherman said. “There has been conversation with looking outside the box, what that area could look like,” she said.

At the same time the closing brought attention to the mall property, the COVID-19 pandemic reminded people of the importance of a community’s local businesses, Sherman said.

“It (COVID) brought more and more to the forefront that we need to make sure we support our local businesses, not just the big box stores. We need to support what we have here,” she said.

About the Author