JCPenney to close at Inlet Square Mall

The managers of Inlet Square Mall have agreed to “voluntarily surrender the premises” to the owners of the mall on or before Sept. 30 under an Aug. 31 consent order by Circuit Judge R. E. Hood.

The order follows a lawsuit filed Aug. 7 in the 15th Circuit Court by West C Street Holdings LLC claiming the company managing the mall, Murrells Retail Associates LLC, failed to pay the $45,600-a-month rent for June and July. West C also claimed the company failed to pay $328,000 as part of an overage included in the lease.

Murrells Retail Associates, which has run the 434,482-square-foot mall since 2009, also agreed to provide West C Street Holdings copies of leases and the names and current addresses for individuals paying the rent for stores within the mall. Murrells Retail Associates will also pay “normal and routine expenses” including taxes, insurances, license fees and utilities through Sept. 30.

West C Street has also requested the court prevent Murrells Retail Associates from “collecting the rent and pocketing it” during the litigation.

Murrells Retail Associates filed counterclaims charging that West C interfered with a possible sale of MRA’s leasehold interest and that there is “no money to be escrowed” because “the Mall operates at a considerable loss before rent is included.”

MRA said it has produced a “letter of intent demonstrating a buyer was willing to pay MRA $3.5 million for its leasehold interest” and pay West C $12 million for the mall property.

“Subsequent to West C’s communications with the buyer and the filing of this ejectment action, the buyer reduced its offer to $1 million for the leasehold interest,” court filings state.

West C countered that the prospective buyers were not qualified “and could not purchase the property.”

In the past four years, the mall has lost three major tenants. Kmart closed in 2014, JCPenney in 2015, and Frank Theaters in 2016.