Cook family won't redeem Mounds Mall building

File photo | The Herald BulletinThe Mounds Mall closed April 1, 2018. The Dr. Tavel optometry office and Mounds 10 Theatre, having exterior entrances, have remained open. Carl Baumann said his plans include an initial investment of $12.5 million that would hire 1,160 people with an annual payroll of $45 million.

ANDERSON — With two deadlines approaching concerning the future of the recently shuttered Mounds Mall, it appears likely that a Florida company will take possession of the building.

Attorney Jonathan Cook said Thursday that the Cook family would not be redeeming the building, which was sold to Mark Squillante at the Commissioner’s certificate sale for $12,000.

The deadline for redeeming the property is Aug. 8. It would require the Cook family to pay in full approximately $700,000 in past due property taxes and other expenses.

Cook said the family does plan to redeem two parking lots that sold at the certificate sale for $5,000. He didn’t know the final cost.

Squilliante said he plans to request a tax title deed from a Madison County judge after Aug. 8.

“If they don’t redeem it, I will ask for a deed,” he said. “We have a couple of plans for the building and have had discussions with different people.”

Squillante said any plans will not be finalized until the Aug. 8 deadline passes.

“It’s better to be prepared,” he said. “We’re talking with different parties about the use of the building.

“I’m excited,” Squillante said. “I’m looking forward to the possibility of working with the mall.”

He said they intend to reach out to the Anderson community and input from local residents on a future use for the facility would be welcome.

“I want it to be a place for kids to come after school,” Squillante said. “My hope is to have some retail.”

Cook said the family is waiting to see what the next step is for the property.

“We are interested in working with them,” he said of Squillante.

While the tax sale appears to be moving toward resolution, a potential buyer said his proposal will not move forward.

Earlier this year Baumann RE LLC made an offer to the Cook family to purchase the Mounds Mall for $3 million with a deadline of July 31 to complete the purchase.

Carl Baumann said Thursday he was unsuccessful in obtaining investors to move forward with his proposal.

“We will not be completing the deal to purchase the mall,” Baumann said. “I couldn’t find any investors interested in the project. I never got to the stage with the potential investors who wanted to see the business and financial plan. I guess it didn’t fit their criteria.”

Baumann planned to purchase the building for $3 million and then invest another $17 million into the facility.

His plan was to convert the former Sears store into a factory to manufacture modular housing. Baumann also wanted to return retail to the facility, convert space into an indoor go-kart track and make the former Carson’s store a convention and event center.

“(Baumann) had no interest, that’s interesting,” Cook said when told the sale would not take place. “At this late stage I didn’t think it was possible to go through with the purchase.”

The Mounds Mall closed on April 1, 2018, after Carson's closed their anchor store.

The Mounds Mall opened in 1963 as the first enclosed mall in Indiana, operated by the Simon Property Groups. Simon, the largest shopping mall operator in America, sold the mall in 2003 to Coral Gables, Florida-based Bayview Financial LP.

Bayview sold the Mall in 2009 to Anderson siblings Virgil E. Cook II and Natalie Campbell, who already owned the land the mall was built on.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.