Roof repairs, new theater equipment and new tenants are just a few of the needs to be addressed by the new owner of Mounds Malls before the facility can be reopened and restored to a position of prominence in the community.
Closed at the end of March 2018, the mall had suffered from the loss of department stores and other anchor retailers. Only two businesses with external entrances — Dr. Tavel Family Eye Care and the Mounds 10 Theatre — remained open.
But the movie theater closed, too, recently.
As chronicled in an Oct. 15 news article in The Herald Bulletin, the new owner of the mall, Mark Squillante, is working to get the theater reopened soon, at a cost of as much as $1 million for new projection screens, seats and other equipment.
Squillante also says he’s determined to clear up concerns about the roof and a myriad of safety issues, including a faulty firewall. Then he wants to draw new tenants and reopen the mall.
Along with his brother, Jason, Squillante bought the 300,000-square-foot mall for $12,000 at the Madison County Commissioner’s Certificate Sale and took possession in August. While the purchase price was low, Squillante went into the venture knowing that he would have to spend millions to reopen the facility.
“This will be a mall,” Squillante said in the Oct. 15 article. “We want community and national retail outlets. We want the mall to be a destination for Anderson and the region.”
A lot of time, effort and expense will be required to rehabilitate Mounds Mall at a time when many malls across the country are struggling to survive. The pressure from online retailers is enormous.
If Squillante can manage to beat the odds, it would be great for the community. The movie theater will be the first test. Can Squillante bring it up to the standards of modern cinemas?
Here’s hoping he can pull it off.