The move is not a surprise. In a fourth quarter earnings report released in March, the business reported “there exists substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
At that time, the company said it had reached an agreement with creditors extending until the end of the month a deadline to pay a $23.2 million interest payment that had been initially due Feb. 16.
A victim not only of the pandemic but of an increasingly weakened position for retail brick-and-mortar nationwide, Washington Prime has seen mall anchors and regular-size tenants sliding into bankruptcy and shuttering their stores. Elder-Beerman and Sears in 2018 closed locations at both Dayton Mall and The Mall at Fairfield Commons.
Mall owners CBL Properties and PREIT also filed for Chapter 11 last November, with those companies having previously warned they were in challenging positions because some of their largest tenants, including JC Penney, had started their own stints in bankruptcy.
Shoppers at the Dayton Mall on Monday said they were not aware the mall owner had filed for bankruptcy.
“It doesn’t surprise me. As the larger stores keep closing, I’m sure they’re going to have more trouble,” said Lisa Short of Miamisburg, who was shopping with her daughter.
Glimcher Realty Trust — which at one time owned and operated the Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons — was bought out by Washington Prime Group in 2014.
Messages seeking comment were sent to representatives of WPG and the local malls Monday.
The company owns more than 100 locations across the United States. In addition to its two local malls, the company owns seven other Ohio properties:
· Great Lakes Mall in Mentor
· Indian Mound Mall in Heath
· Lima Mall in Lima
· New Towne Mall in New Philadelphia
· Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus
· Southern Park Mall in Youngstown