Complaint: Eastland Center needs a receiver

The Detroit News

Eastland Center could move into receivership after the mall owners apparently stopped paying on loans, court records show.

According to a complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court, associates with the New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. failed to make payments due last month and owe more than $42.4 million.

Attorneys representing the U.S. Bank National Association are asking a judge to appoint a receiver for the Harper Woods property.

Officials with Ashkenazy Acquisition did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday night.

In an email to The Detroit News, Brent Reetz, general manager for Eastland Center, said no one was available to answer questions Friday.

The court complaint filed Wednesday said New Eastland Mall Developer LLC, part of Ashkenazy, borrowed $46 million in 2006, but the loan later was split into a $39.5 million note and another for $6.5 million.

Ashkenazy Acquisition, which also owned the now-closed Northland Center in Southfield, missed its April payment on a $37.43 million loan balance for one of those notes, according to Trepp LLC, a New York-based company that tracks commercial mortgage-backed securities. It was the first missed loan payment though the mall had been on the watch list since 2009, officials said.

The mall has faced a number of struggles in recent years.

In late 2011, Sears announced the closure of its location there.

Late last year, the 1.4 million-square-foot mall had an occupancy rate of 76 percent, Trepp LLC said.

Crime and safety issues have also plagued Eastland — including three shots fired shots inside on Mother’s Day and a parking lot shooting last August that left two people injured, police said.