Lakeforest Mall sold at foreclosure auction


Jonathan Trejo Perez

Macys department store at Lakeforest Mall.

Bianca Johnson

Lakeforest Mall is under new ownership after being sold at a foreclosure auction on August 22. Bought for only one-fifth of the original price, Lakeforest faces many obstacles.

The US Bank bought the main property’s revenue after the previous owners, Five Mile, failed to pay their mortgage for seven months. With five years of crime and growing competition, Lakeforest’s property is decreasing. The US Bank plans to leave the property as is until they come up with a set plan.

Senior Emily Castillo believes Lakeforest “should be torn down.” Bought for only $19.1 million at the foreclosure auction, the US Bank has not publicly spoken on future renovations.

“I’m okay with it being sold and the land redeveloped,” English teacher Ellen Stahly said. Around 17 malls and shopping centers have been closed recently in the District of Columbia area. Well-known companies like Macy’s (68), JCPenney (138) and Sears (98) are closing stores all throughout the country.

“Everything is on sale [at Lakeforest]… they need more stores, and [their] stores need more [things],” Castillo said. The main property’s value has dropped from $14.68 million in 2012 to $6.18 million in 2016. The previous owners renovated the Center Court, children’s play area, and new furniture for the Cafés in the Forest Food Court in 2012. The renovations cost a total of $1.2 million.

“The other [malls] are bigger and they have stores that aren’t at Lakeforest,” Castillo said. Built in 1978, the mall has about 160 stores while Westfield Montgomery has 195 and Tysons Corner has about 300. Sears, JCPenney, Macy’s and Lord & Taylor are the only businesses that own their buildings, land, and parking lots at the mall.

There have been three police reports of stabbings on the mall’s property within the past 20 years. However, senior Eric Polea, a JCPenney employee, says that he feels safe at the mall. “I’ve had no problem there,” Polea added.

“I lived in Montgomery Village when the mall was built… I think it’s time for a change,” Stahly said. Though the mall is under new ownership, it will continue to stay open.

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