By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO June 5, 2001 The Apollo Plaza has oft been on a roller coaster ride since it opened nearly 20 years ago. While at one point the mall was thriving, it has taken a downward turn over the last few years. Many stores have closed, and visitors have decreased.
The latest twist is a bankruptcy declaration by the malls new owners, led by developer David Flaum.
Earlier this year, the mall was sold. Out-of-county investors, represented by the Barbanti Group, bought the mall. The reported intention was to renovate the mall, bring in more stores, and revitalize it.
However, the mortgage is held through the Bank of Kuwait. Liberty businessman Gene Barbanti made an offer of $750,000 for the mortgage. Another group offered $650,000 and bought the mortgage. Barbanti does not know who the other group is or why they got the mortgage for less money. He stated the mortgage was valued at $3.5 million.
The Apollo Plaza has declared bankruptcy as a way to protect itself, according to Barbanti. Investors have filed a Chapter 11 reorganization plan. Barbanti stated this was done to protect the group while they straighten everything out.
Barbanti also stated that they were continuing to work to upgrade the mall. In another two or three days, a separate account will be set up to ensure the work continues. They will be going ahead and still plan to renovate the mall.