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Published: Wednesday, 3/2/2005

Southwyck Mall owners tell city they're willing to sell


The owners of Southwyck Shopping Center are willing to sell at a price that an interested developer might pay, the city's development chief said yesterday.

William Carroll, director of economic and community development, said he phoned Sherman Dreiseszun, part owner of the South Toledo mall, yesterday to get a response to the proposal he made three weeks ago.

"Both Sherman and [co-owner] Bill Dillard agreed they would sell Southwyck, and the number is in the ballpark," Mr. Carroll said.

He wouldn't detail the city's proposed price, the owners' counteroffer, or what he meant by "the ballpark."

"Sherman would be interested in partnering or selling. The good news is that they together have agreed they would sell," Mr. Carroll said.

The Lucas County auditor's office has estimated the value of the property at $22 million for tax purposes.

Mayor Jack Ford said yesterday the city is not interested in owning the center, but in bringing the current owners together with willing developers.

Mr. Carroll flew to Mr. Dreiseszun's headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 9, to urge him to sell, and requested a response by March 1.

The mall, which opened in 1972, has been losing tenants at an increasing rate and is blamed for a decline in commercial property values along South Reynolds Road.

William Dillard, who owns Dillard's Inc. department store and the closed home store at Southwyck, has agreed to follow Mr. Dreiseszun's lead, Mr. Carroll said. He has a half-interest in the rest of the mall.

Mr. Carroll said he put Mr. Dreiseszun in touch with a local developer who wants to buy the site. And yesterday, he said a second potential developer from out of town has expressed interest in the property.

Toledo has been on the brink of an ownership change at Southwyck before. In 2003, Westfield America Trust, owner of Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park, announced it wanted to buy Southwyck and spend up to $60 million to redevelop it.

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