LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — This is all tied to a $99 million loan issued to Park Plaza's owner back in 2011. The mall still owes a large chunk of that money and the 10-day period the business had to pay it has now ended.
This now has many wondering what could come next. However, city leaders like Jay Chesshir, Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce President, are already thinking about the future.
"Companies today are looking at new, fresh, and innovative storefront options and we think Park Plaza is really well positioned to benefit from that," Chesshir said.
As nostalgic as shopping malls can be, these days they're going out of style.
"COVID certainly, I won't say it was a nail in the coffin, but it certainly expedited some closure. So, that's certainly the trend we're seeing," Chris McNulty, Mitchell Williams Law Firm Partner, said.
That trend hits close to home, more specifically on the corner of University and Markham after a judge put the Park Plaza Mall under a foreclosure order.
While the mall has been a community staple for years, Chesshir believes this is a chance to go bigger and better.
"It really is an opportunity for a transformative retail entity to come in here and take advantage of what retail is going forward, as opposed to what retail was in the past," he said.
Chesshir said he has high hopes because of the mall's position, surrounding developments, and its anchor store, Dillard's.
A Dillard's spokesperson sent THV11 a statement reading in part quote:
"We have a long, successful history at Park Plaza, and we are looking forward to working with the new owner to make it an even better destination. We do not plan to leave Park Plaza."
McNulty works with malls facing potential foreclosure.
He said when it comes to shoppers, you probably won't notice a change for some time.
"Everything's just gonna be the status quo until they have the sale and ownership changes and then ownership will decide where to go from there," McNulty said.
Questions still linger though of who that owner might be, what could happen next, and when a sale will happen.
"It could be late October. Could be sometime in 2022. We just don't know," McNulty said.