County exec on delinquent Kohan mall: “We’re just done”

Owner is told to pay back taxes or sell Great Northern Mall

Tri-State /
Apr.April 11, 2022 03:30 PM
County Executive J. Ryan McMahon with The Great Northern Mall (Ongov, Google Maps, iStock)

County Executive J. Ryan McMahon with The Great Northern Mall (Ongov, Google Maps, iStock)

The lights are dimming at one of Mike Kohan’s delinquent malls, as he is being given two choices for his debt-ridden property in Onondaga County: pay more than $5 million in back taxes or sell it.

The county has sued the owner of the Great Northern Mall in Clay, New York, demanding the overdue taxes and moving toward foreclosure. Earlier this week, the mall’s power was shut off because of unpaid utility bills, CNY Central reported.

“We’re just done,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said during a press conference. “The proper notices for tax repayment were made. Those deadlines were missed.”

The court filing was made on Wednesday. According to CNY Central, McMahon wants the property sold to a local developer. The county executive said several interested parties have already been put in contact with Kohan.

The property seems unlikely to remain entirely retail. Profitable and zombie malls alike have been adding residential uses. “It could have a housing component in the long term,” McMahon said.

The situation at Great Northern has become dark, literally. Earlier this week, the mall lost power. Kohan claimed it was because a burst pipe damaged electrical boxes, but McMahon said it was shut off because of an unpaid National Grid bill.

Kohan’s claim of water damage could stem from the fact that earlier this year, the mall closed for a month for that reason. Code violations there remain open, and the dozen remaining tenants have endured leaky ceilings and treacherous parking lots.

It’s not clear to McMahon why Kohan isn’t investing in the future of the mall property. The county executive noted that Kohan has enough resources to have recently purchased two other properties.

But Kohan is known more for buying troubled malls than for reviving them. As of early February, Kohan had a portfolio of 52 malls and two hotels, having picked up 15 properties in the previous year alone.

Great Northern is not an outlier among Kohan’s holdings. Power outages, vacancies and neglect are issues at many of his properties, putting some on the brink of foreclosure, though Kohan does have a tendency to pay bills at the last minute.

[CNY Central] — Holden Walter-Warner





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