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Mall manager: Payless store departure to open up space for development

Mall manager: Payless store departure to open up space for development

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QUEENSBURY — Payless ShoeSource going out of business could present an opportunity in the redevelopment of that side of Aviation Mall, according to a mall official.

The Kansas-based shoe chain announced Friday that it will close its 2,500 remaining stores by May. The Queensbury and Wilton stores survived an earlier round of 900 store closures after the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017. The company officially filed for bankruptcy on Monday.

Aviation Mall manager James Griffith said Payless is occupying nearly 4,000 square feet adjacent to Sears, which closed in November.

“It gives us some more opportunity to play with some more space,” he said.

Griffith is actively seeking new retail tenants for the space that Sears occupied.

“It doesn’t have to be the entire 95,000 square feet. We can cut it up to suit more tenants,” he said.

Liquidation sales at Payless began Sunday, but the store will be open until sometime in May, according to Griffith.

Griffith would not discuss the types of tenants he is looking to bring in, but the overall goal is to bring retailers that the community wants and will drive traffic to the site.

For the vacant Bon-Ton department store site, Griffith said he is still pursuing entertainment-type uses that would work in conjunction with Regal Cinemas, as well as retail.

Griffith said in November that he was very close to announcing two or three new businesses to replace Bon-Ton. About 20,000 square feet would be devoted to an entertainment-type use and 60,000 square feet would be for retail space.

Griffith said he has had some preliminary conversations with Queensbury officials about putting in an electronic sign if the town changes its ordinance.

“We only have 12 slots on our major sign. Our national tenants get those slots,” he said.

Payless also has a store at the Wilton Mall. A mall representative did not return a Post-Star message seeking comment.

A Payless spokeswoman did not provide a specific timetable as to when the two local stores would close.

“We expect all stores to remain open until at least the end of March and the majority will remain open until May,” said spokeswoman Lauren Jeffords in an email. “This process does not affect the company’s franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual.”

Michael Goot covers politics, business, the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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