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April 21, 2014 - 9:18am

City claims mall merchants owe $805,000 in past due rent

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre.


The City of Batavia is suing the Genesee County Mall Merchants Association for $805,000.
Court papers just filed and obtained by WBTA show the city has filed a complaint against the mall association for past due rent. The city also wants the lease for the mall concourse to be terminated.
The city claims the Mall Association has not paid fair market rent for the mall concourse since April of 2000.

The bad blood between the city and the mall association goes back years.

The mall has claimed that since the city owns the concourse, it is responsible to replace the roof and make other improvements.

The city says that the lease clearly states the mall is responsible for the maintenance of the roof and other public areas.

City Manager Jason Molino, reluctant to talk about details of the latest legal salvo, says he is hopeful the situation can be resolved:

"Hopefully, we will be able to have a permanent resolution to a decade-long conflict that will ultimately contribute to the community."

City Council President Brooks Hawley issued a prepared statement declining comment on the latest legal action while it is pending litigation:

"In the course of defending the City's interests in the case, certain information has become available resulting in the City to pursuing a claim against the Merchants Association. To the extent that this is pending litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment any further."

The Mall Association has been leasing the concourse from the city for $1 a year plus the maintenance costs. The city contends the mall has not kept up with repairs and maintenance equal to the fair market rent.


Elizabeth Downie
Elizabeth Downie's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 10 2009 - 5:57pm

"The city contends the mall has not kept up with repairs and maintenance equal to the fair market rent."

Unfortunately, I had to go into the mall the other day and it was just atrocious. Its design is behind the times, the building itself is run down, and there were buckets EVERYWHERE filling with rainwater that was leaking from the ceiling/roof above. I'm glad that I don't have to go in there on a regular basis... what an embarrassment to the City of Batavia and to the store owners in there. The mall should be razed and the businesses relocated into the various other vacant buildings around Batavia... just my opinion, of course.

shelly mathers
shelly mathers's picture
Last seen: 3 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2009 - 2:43pm

The above comment is completely correct. It is ugly and old and it clearly shows. I can't believe any retailers are putting their businesses in there. It's funny that the city is all about cleaning Batavia up but the mall right in the middle (and even the home city offices) is so neglected. The mall isn't even half full with businesses, what's the point?

bud prevost
bud prevost's picture
Last seen: 5 days 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 11 2009 - 9:12pm

I'm too young to remember, but I'm sure some folks know who the fat cat insiders were in that generation. Demolish the character of an area, and build a cheap piece of crap in it's place. Notice how many "cookie cutter" sports stadiums that were built in the same era are long gone. The mall has always reminded me of those artificial turf, multi sport bland facilities that were built to replace older, more traditional stadiums and ballparks.
I agree with the above comments, the mall is an eyesore that should be razed, and the "whoever" should face the same scrutiny that others receive in the city. ( Guy Pellegrino comes to mind)

Mark Potwora
Mark Potwora's picture
Last seen: 4 days 1 hour ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm

Agreed Elizabeth...The buckets should be considered a safety issue..A leaking roof only means that the whole roof is rotting away. The city is the owner of the concourse Condemn it just as the city would do to any other renter of property in the city.....The concourse should be closed to the public because of falling roof tiles and leaking roof...As long as the Mall association voided the terms of the lease it becomes the city's problem..The city has let this issue go on to long..This law suit will just delay the issue even longer.And nothing will get done.For the few merchants that are left they will not be paying 800,000 dollars..Problem with this whole issue is that the taxpayer are going to be stuck with the bill to rectify this problem..The city has grant money to hand out to create apartments downtown and trash enclosures.That money would of been better spent to tear the roof of the concourse and be done with it............................................................................................................................................................ Hope Hawley recuses his self from any decisions on the mall since his father owns a business in the Mall.

Ed Hartgrove
Ed Hartgrove's picture
Last seen: 2 days 13 hours ago
Joined: Dec 20 2012 - 11:54am

Just wondering, what is the current 'fair market value' for leasing a rain locker these days?

John Roach
John Roach's picture
Last seen: 5 days 18 hours ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am

The City is trying to get grant money to do something with the Mall. It wants grant money to extend Jackson Street into the Mall area, remove 5 properties and relocate them and do other improvements. The plan was presented at a Council meeting and the plan is a good one. But, there is no grant money for this right now. And while we might get other grant money for some things, there is none for the Mall at this time.

I was surprise that It seems that a number of people here want eminent domain to be used. They want the City to take the property away from the owners (who of course would be paid), level the Mall and hope somebody will then buy it from the City. Yea, good luck with that.

Michael Pullinzi
Michael Pullinzi's picture
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Feb 10 2010 - 9:10pm

Roof is the responsibility of the City who has fallen flat on this responsiblity for years. Molina, like most things he does, has been very dishonest and irresponsible in this matter. Part of the reason all new businesses locate outside the City as the City has become a VERY unfriendly place for business unless your the City Attorney who has profited to the point that Molina will not even tell City Council how much he has spent on Legal fees.

jason reese
jason reese's picture
Last seen: 1 month 5 days ago
Joined: Dec 12 2008 - 11:39am

Isn't city hall a mall merchant? And don't they have to pay fee's to rent where they are located at Genesee Country Mall? The Mall has been in decline for quite a while. Turning it into hospitals, dental. When the mall first opened it was great. It had everything a consumer needed and was quite popular. Today it's pathetic how it's even open, should be questioned. I can't wait to see this.

Raymond Richardson
Raymond Richardson's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: Aug 18 2012 - 9:23am

I remember the mall back in the 80s. It was as poor a site then, as it is now. I'm surprised that anyone does business with any of the merchants there.

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