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May 25, 2013

Plaintiff drops lawsuit against Crossroads Mall

GREENVILLE — A lawsuit filed by an architect who had alleged he was never paid for designing proposed improvements to Greenville’s Crossroads Mall has been dismissed.

It was not clear as of Friday what the dropping of the suit, which had been filed one year ago by Hermes Architects against Crossroads Greenville Properties and the related companies of Triyar Management of Texas and Houston Properties Ltd., means for the progress of the long gestating plans to transform the mall at 6834 Wesley Street into an open shopping center.

Representatives with the mall were unable to be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Hermes Architects Incorporated, based in Houston, filed the suit with the 196th District Court on May 21, 2012 seeking more than $270,000 the company claimed it was owed or, in the alternative, possession of the mall itself.

Aside from a general denial of the claims on behalf of the owners of the mall, no motions had been filed in the case and no hearings were ever conducted in the court.

The attorney for Hermes Architects filed the “notice of nonsuit” with the court Thursday and the suit was officially dismissed Friday.

According to an announcement in March 2012 by City of Greenville officials and the owners of the mall, two of the shopping center’s biggest tenants are to get new spaces in the mall under a redevelopment of the property.

The City Council voted to enter into an Economic Development Agreement with Crossroads Greenville Properties. Under the terms of the agreement, Crossroads Greenville would invest approximately $11 million to transform the current traditional enclosed retail mall into a “Big Box” configuration, with larger retailers having access directly to the parking area.

Staples, Belk and JC Penney would remain at their current locations, while Bealls and Hibbett Sports would be relocated into newly created spaces, with the remainder of the leasable area occupied by retailers new to the project.

Improvements being planned include a new facade, relocation of leasable space to the front of the complex as well as improvements to the parking area and other aesthetic enhancements.

For its part, the City of Greenville will pay the developer grant payments calculated on anticipated sales tax increases.

As of the time of the announcement 14 months ago, Crossroads Mall generated $23 million in annual taxable sales based on a five-year average. After the improvements are made, the project is estimated to generate $47 million in annual taxable sales.

Under the agreement, the City will continue to collect 100 percent of the sales tax payments on the $23 million base which equates to an annual sales tax revenue of $316,250. The term of the agreement is 15 years and any additional sales tax generated from the project will be split equally between the City and the developer.

The agreement requires the developer to begin construction on the project within six months and make an investment of $10 million within the first 18 months.

But aside from some minor masonry work on one end of the mall in August of last year, there have been no visible efforts made toward the redevelopment of the mall, opened in 1983.

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