The owner of Decatur Mall is progressing with extensive renovations and has inked a deal for a new business outside the mall, but a large tenant recently filed for bankruptcy.
Decatur Athletic Club LLC, owned by former mayoral candidate Jeremy Goforth, filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy last month in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
The bankruptcy filing followed a May 5 lawsuit filed by Decatur Mall LLC against the athletic club that demanded payment of $47,046, which consisted of missed rent for February, March and April, plus various late fees. The athletic club’s 10-year lease agreement for the 21,903-square-foot space called for monthly rent of $12,500, according to the mall’s lawsuit.
Coles Doyle, spokeswoman for mall owner Hull Property Group, of Augusta, Georgia, said Decatur Athletic Club, which is now operating as Pulse Fitness Center, remains open in the mall. Otherwise, she said the company won’t comment on ongoing litigation.
Goforth, represented by attorney Stuart Maples, of the Maples Law Firm in Huntsville, could not be reached for comment. He sold Hartselle Athletic Club in September 2016.
Hull purchased the struggling mall early last year and began $12.6 million in renovations of the mall property earlier this year.
In January, demolition of the former Sears and J.C. Penney stores reduced the 558,610-square-foot mall by 200,000 square feet so it can be more easily marketed to prospective retailers.
Hull is spending about $4.8 million on mall renovations. Doyle said the interior work is almost complete.
Exterior improvements, which include new branding, signs and entrances, are expected to begin in July with completion planned for early fall, she said.
The remaining $7.8 million is to be spent on new restaurants or retailers that locate on the exterior of the mall property.