The Marketplace Mall may be going through a major change soon. The owner, Wilmorite, is looking to have the county IDA, called Imagine Monroe, buy the rights to the parking space around the old Macy’s building. They will then be able to sell the Macy’s building and the area around it to a new tenant. Wilmorite cannot say who the tenant is due to a non-disclosure agreement.
A public hearing was held Monday to discuss the possible change. Henrietta resident, Bill List, said he has heard a few rumors of who the new tenant could be.
“I don’t know what they’re proposing but anything is better than what they have, which is slowly just diminishing and nothing,” List said.
JCPenney shares the parking space looking to be sold, along with Dick’s Sporting Goods and Old Navy. Kathleen Bennett, the lawyer representing Penney’s, said the store was given vague notice about the possible project. She said it was unfair to be expected to comment with so little information.
“When you don’t know what the potential project is going to be, that leaves you at a disadvantage and you have to just come out and raise any and all potential issues that might come up,” Bennett said.
Some of these issues for Penney’s specifically include losing 200 parking spots and one of its main entrances, which is used by 20 percent of its customers.
The executive director of Imagine Monroe, Jeff Adair, said Penney’s concerns are well taken.
“That’s why we have public hearings in order for us to find out what their concerns are and we will use the next few weeks and days to figure out exactly how to answer them and respond to them,” Adair said.
He said the next step is to look over and address the public comments over the next 30 to 60 days.
A representative from Wilmorite was at Monday’s hearing but did not speak there. They instead issued a statement saying:
“We are as excited as anyone to complete the ‘prepatory process’ such that we can conclude contract negotiations and announce the transformative tenant that will have positive impacts for Marketplace Mall and positive fiscal impacts for every community in Monroe County.”