By Michael Futch
The long-struggling Marketfair Mall sold for $16 million in a foreclosure auction Thursday on the steps of the Cumberland County Courthouse.
The property went back to foreclosing lender Capmark Finance LLC, of Manhattan, N.Y., said Lonnie Player Jr., the Fayetteville lawyer overseeing the process.
“The foreclosing lender has held the sale and has placed the current high bid, which is $16 million,” Player said. “They’re the holder in due course of note on the property.”
The foreclosure sale on the 27-year-old mall at 1916 Skibo Road – postponed by the lender at least half-a-dozen times since March 2011 – was conducted Thursday just after noon.
Starting today, any upset bidder would have 10 days to increase the bid amount. By law, it would have to be made by increasing the bid by at least 5 percent with the Clerk of Superior Court, Player said.
In this case, the upset bid on the mall would have to be at least $16.8 million.
Over the 10-day period, Player said, any number of upset bids can be made.
The Carmike 15 movie theater serves as the anchoring business at Marketfair Mall. “I’m sure the theater will not be affected,” he said.
But Player was uncertain if any other tenant leases are subject to cancellation because of a change in landlord. That, he said, would be up to Capmark Finance.
A company representative could not be reached for comment late Thursday afternoon.
“Any change of ownership would be positive over there,” Player said. “The last time I was in there, there was a low tenant base. I would hope a change in ownership would serve to revive that mall.”
The mall sale was ordered after the property’s owner defaulted on loans.
The owner, Gulfside Development of South Miami, Fla., owes nearly $19.9 million, according to court documents. To Player’s knowledge, Gulfside had not made monthly payments on the loans since Sept. 9, 2009.
The court documents showed the company was ordered to pay Capmark Finance $22.4 million. When the payment deadline passed, the property went into foreclosure.
A legal notice has described the Marketfair property as 23.4 acres. Tax records show a total appraised tax value of $16.8 million, of which $2.9 million is land value.
In 1985, Marketfair was built for $10 million at the busy intersection of Skibo and Morganton roads. Initially, it was known as MarketPlace Mall after first opening in March 1986.
A year later, the name was changed to Windsor Mall.
A 44,260-square-foot Hamrick’s clothing store opened in the mall in 1991, at the same time a grand ”reopening” was held and the name switched to Marketfair Mall. Hamrick’s shut down at that site in 1999.
In 1997, Gulfside paid $7.4 million for the property.