Operator of 2 WVa malls files for bankruptcy protection

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — An Ohio company that operates dozens of U.S. shopping and strip malls, including two in West Virginia, has filed for federal bankruptcy protection, citing a drop in foot traffic at its properties during the coronavirus pandemic, according to court records.

Washington Prime Group of Columbus, Ohio, filed a petition for Chapter 11 protection earlier this month in federal bankruptcy court in Texas. The company operates the Morgantown Mall and the Grand Central Mall in Vienna, The Dominion Post reported.

Despite adjusting its business plan as consumer preferences changed amid states’ stay-at-home orders, “the COVID-19 pandemic proved insurmountable,” Executive Vice President Mark Yale said in the filing.

The company has entered into a restructuring agreement with creditors, led by SVPGlobal, that includes $100 million in new financing. The company said in a statement that business at its properties will continue uninterrupted.