AURORA | The national investment group that owns the Town Center at Aurora mall filed for bankruptcy protection over the weekend, citing the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic as a primary factor.
Ohio-based Washington Prime group, which owns more than 100 shopping centers across the country including the central Aurora mall, filed for chapter 11 relief in federal bankruptcy court in Texas Sunday, according to a news release.
Lou Conforti, CEO and director of Washington Prime, said the company’s myriad malls should expect to operate as normal during the ongoing restructuring effort pursued in an effort to offload debt.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for many companies, including Washington Prime Group, making a chapter 11 filing necessary to reduce the company’s outstanding indebtedness,” a spokesperson wrote in a news release. “Throughout the restructuring process, the company remains committed to serving as a preeminent operator of retail town centers and will continue to serve its guests.”
In addition to the Town Center at Aurora, Washington Prime owns a pair of malls in Grand Junction. The firm also owns a smattering of complexes in New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma and South Dakota, though the bulk of its properties are in the midwest, East Coast and Texas.
The current general manager for the Town Center at Aurora, Joel Boyd, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.
The mall is expected to welcome a massive new tenant later this year with the arrival of Fieldhouse USA, a hulking sporting complex being erected where the former Sears store stood for years.
A small fire was reported inside the under-construction building earlier this year, but was quickly extinguished. Boyd recently told the Sentinel the blaze is not expected to disrupt the new complex’s plans to open in the city this fall.