City council members Monday unanimously approved the sale of the Palestine Mall to Christon Company of Dallas for $2 million, pending contract approval by attorneys. Contract approval should come no later than next week.
“We've been looking at this site since 2015,” CEO John Christon told the Herald-Press Monday. “We approached the city about buying pad-sites here years ago. We were surprised then the city was already thinking about selling.”
City officials considered bids from multiple companies, with the help of the Edge Realty Group, who brought in prospective buyers. With an offer of $2 million dollars, however, Christon's company won.
A real estate company, Christon has big plans for the nearly abandoned mall. Those plans include attracting national brands, and raising the mall's ground-level up to 30-feet to make it more level with the surrounding area.
One of the past obstacles in selling the mall was the iron-clad lease with J.C. Penney – a lease the retail giant just recently renewed.
Not a problem, Christon said.
“We've been working with J.C. Penney since day one,” he said. “We're confident we are going to have a great working relationship with them going forward.”
Another mall fixture that will remain are two Veteran service offices. “We want our veterans to know that their health care, and their services through Anderson County, are not going anywhere,” City Manager Leslie Cloer told the Herald-Press.
With the promise of added sales tax revenue, and the possibility of several new large employers, Palestine Mayor Steve Presley is excited.
“It feels great to be working towards a solution for our residents concerning the mall,” he said. “Not to mention the countless job opportunities this will bring about. It's a win-win for everyone.”