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September 1, 2009 - 12:27pm

The City Centre Mall Association is suing the City

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, mall.

The City Centre Mall Association thinks the city is responsible for replacing the mall's roof, repairing skylights and the silo entrances.

And since the city has resisted spending money on the mall, the association is asking the courts to come to its rescue.

In a lawsuit filed last month, the association also asks that the city be required to repair an uneven concourse floor, drop ceilings and HVAC, plus award $95,000 to the merchants and add "as close as 1,1,40 parking spaces as possible" to make up for spaces lost from construction of City Hall, a restaurant and two banks.

WBTA reports:

Dr. Mitchel Chess, president of the Mall Association, said he was hesitant to comment because the associations’ lawyers received the city’s initial response to the suit this morning.

City Manager Jason Molino confirmed the city had been served with the suit. He said the city’s attorney will handle the matter in house. He said the action by the mall association "had been expected."

This is at least the third lawsuit that the mall association has filed against the city since the Genesee Country Mall opened 30 years ago.

Karen Miconi
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Now this was the first topic of conversation I had, after talking to one of the engineers(that I referenced yesterday) that built the mall. These guys had a very hard time with( Mr. M.) some kind of city manager at the time,(I dont know which one), when designing the mall and the roof drainage. From what I was told, the engineers were told to do it Mr. M's way, even though these guys knew better(Engineers)and were being payed to design and build the mall. This person expressed his frustration with this man above, and concluded by saying the mall was an accident waiting to happen, and forsaw problems with the roof, as it was built wrong. Where are we now?? Having to deal with the malls deterieration. He also told of the lists of city projects the engineers would have to bring to Mr. M. for aproval. Mr. M. would take the list, cross off certain areas and peoples he didnt want to help, and tell the engineers to go to the ones he had chosen(personal friends, and family) instead. Good luck to all involved in this suit. I hope the fault will be directed in the direction of Mr. M., not people who had nothing to do with the malls construction, and still suffer financially from it still 30 years later. This information is to the best of my knowlege, from reputable engineers involved with the malls construction at the time. I hope this will help in some way.
Joe Lullo
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why do they need that many parking spaces? no one goes there for anything really. Why don't they tare down their poor excuse of a "mall", which is still stuck in the 70's, and build a respectable one with shops that will actually attract people, especially of the younger age group. Then people may be more inclined to go to the "mall".
Richard Gahagan
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Tell the mall association to let the roof fall in and use the money from the lawsuit and roof repair to rent a bulldozer.
Timothy Paine
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The parking space numbers available is part of the contract. It will all be part of the complete negotiations package between the City and the MMA (Mall Merchants Association). This is something that will take some time to sort out. This will not be an easy fix. With out going into any details this going to be about controlling the bleeding from both parties. There will be no winners or losers in this negotiation much like most other contracts. I sit on the Mall Comittee and I try my best to see both sides. As a City taxpayer I am very sensative to where our tax dollars end up, but I also see what the MMA has been promised in their contracts. There will have to be give an take from both sides. Times have changed since the original and supplemental contracts. I have every confidence that Jason will do what's best for our City and that the MMA will do what's best for them. Obviously there are many details that can't be discussed during the negotiation process. I will make a promise to all who read the Batavian that I will keep everyone informed with as much possible information that I am allowed. The last thing I want to do is to harm negotiations while they're happening. My biggest hope and what I want to see accomplished is something that is final. I don't want my kids to be subjected to anymore City vs Mall conflicts in the future. I myself feel more stongly towards finality then anything else. I really, really hope that this turns out to be the last negotiation/contract dispute/lawsuit or whatever else you want to call it between the City and the Mall.
Bea McManis
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Just curious 1. Does the city still own the concourse? 2. Do the mall merchants pay taxes on their stores? 3. Are the silos considered public property and part of the city and not the mall? 4. If the city still owns the concourse, then wouldn't it stand to reason that they also own the roof above it? If so, then wouldn't it be their responsibility to maintain it? The leaking roof is not a new issue.
Timothy Paine
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And now you understand some of the problems Bea. The wording in the original contract of who's responsible for what, when and where is ambiguous at best. I read the contract and unfortunately, there is "wiggle room" (if that's a legal term?). The funny thing is, there aren't many big words in the contract. I actually didn't need a dictionary. That was the first indication to me that there is a big problem with the wording.(LOL!) However, even I saw where both sides can interperet it differently. Like I said though, I just want it to be over for good. That's my goal.
John Roach
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Tim, Any idea how many parking spaces were really lost when the new City Hall was built? Most of the new City Hall seems to sit where there were about 5 stores owned by the city for taxes (the ones Dr. Chess wanted to buy, but was denied). The walkway in front of City Hall and the "S" curve took out some parking, but I do not have the number of spaces lost anymore.
Timothy Paine
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John, there were also spaces lost to the bank as well. I'm not sure exactly what was decided and what numbers were established for either construction project. I will let readers know as soon as I get the explainations and exact numbers from both sides. This is only my opinion here, but once again, things sometimes appear a bit "loosey goosey". (another legal term?)
Bea McManis
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lol, with legal terms like 'wiggle room' and 'loosey goosey', it sounds like the negotiations should be interesting to watch.
Mary E DelPlato
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Wait,now arent whoever is in this thing called a mall paying rent and other fees? Shouldnt that money be used for the repairs? Am I missing something? If I was a landlord charging rent can I get monies from the citytaxpayers to fix the structure of my property? Well I know I could steal money from HUD, oh but thats not from citytaxpayers,oh noo not at all. ha ha
Mary E DelPlato
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Yay!!!thumbs up to Mr. Gahagan and hahahaha. Is it really a mall now? Shouldnt it be like ummm... a medical center?
Howard B. Owens
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Mary, the mall is a bit of a different arrangement. Each individual unit is owned by an individual. In most cases, the businesses own the building and land they occupy (as I understand it). They can sell it or lease it as any other piece of real estate and are responsible only for their own building. And as I understand it, the mall structure, concourse, etc. are public property.
John Roach
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There were only a few “malls” in the US that tried this business model, and they all failed. I don’t know if any of the others “malls” are even still standing. Our mall had a 2nd chance of coming back. Dr. Chess, one of the business owners in the mall, wanted to buy the 5 vacant city owned properties where City Hall is now. UMMC came out against Dr. Chess buying the property for competition reasons and City Council went along with their request. When nobody else would buy the properties, the City went ahead and built the new City Hall, taking the property off the tax roles forever. And unlike the fairytale we were told that it would bring in lots of retail stores, you can see what happened any time you walk around inside.

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