Monday, August 24, 2015
City of West Frankfort to Buy Outlet Mall
A deal was signed last week according to reporting by the new Frankfort American, a twice-weekly newspaper sponsored by Morthland College that's only in its fifth issue.
The city has 60 days to review the building and terms before closing on the deal, details of which have not been released. Officials including Mayor Tom Jordan has spent the last two months negotiating the deal for the 25-year-old mall.
Colliers International has been marketing the outlet mall with a sales price of $2,050,000. The building has 91,063 sq. ft. of leasable area which gives it an asking price of $22.51/sq. ft.
The mall is about two-thirds rented and anchored by VF Outlet.
The paper reports that the city hopes to keep the existing retail stores inside and add other retailers or business that wouldn't interfere with retail. Following the success of their industrial incubator building they hope to continue that model to add more retail development both inside the mall as well as development of the entire 20-acre tract will the mall sits.
The mall is owned by DeSantis Properties of Fresno, California, which did not respond to calls by the paper.
Ironically and historically, there's a tie between the DeSantis name (but certainly not the company in this case) and the city. In 1920, a seriously deranged Sicilian named Settimi DeSantis and another man killed two teen boys in some woods south of Royalton, across the county line in Williamson County.
The killings, believed by the public to have been the work of the Black Hand, led to the West Frankfort Race Riot which targeted Italians living in the city. It took the National Guard to restore order. Williamson County prosecuted both men for murder. DeSantis' accomplice hung himself during the trial in the county jail (now the Williamson County Jail Museum). The jury found DeSantis guilty and hung him on a vacant lot on the east side of the square behind what's now John Brown's on the Square.
Hat tip to Jeff Webb, a former staffer of the old West Frankfort Daily American and a photographer with the new paper. He stopped by to talk to me yesterday at my Giant City Lodge book signing and told me about the story and the publication.
Main Street Baking Co. & Mercantile at 328 E. Main St. in West Frankfort. Of this afternoon it's now carrying books published and distributed by IllinoisHistory.com.
Besides rolling in the dough with loaves of fresh bread and sandwiches they offer everything your sweet tooth desires, except donuts. For that they will point you down the street.
That's Owner Darla Dawson on the right and her manager, Esther Willis, on the left. The Benton Evening News had a nice profile piece on Darla earlier this summer.