Town Center garages headed for potential sale

The Charleston Town Center has struggled in recent years, and now the struggles are now having a dramatic impact on its four parking garages, a petition states
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:32 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The Charleston Town Center has struggled in recent years, and now a court petition suggests those struggles are having a dramatic impact on its four parking garages.

The petition, filed this month, seeks to strip control away from the garages’ current owner and set up a potential sale.

Bond trustee UMB Bank and the landowner, the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, filed a petition Sept. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The petition argues “drastically reduced activity” in the mall is having “a devastating financial impact” on the parking garages. That, the petitioners argue, is leading to the four garages “showing signs of decay” and “significant deterioration.”

The Urban Renewal Authority claiming it “has not received any rent for its ground lease” in years, while the bond trustee puts its losses at more than $14 million -- a debt that exceeds the garages’ estimated value.

The petition, along with an attorney for the garages’ current owner, the Charleston Building Commission, has no objection to the potential takeover.

Those involved with the Capital Sports Center could be a potential buyer. It’s a massive indoor sports complex with an aquatic center, fields and courts, all capable of hosting large, regional and national events.

Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango says plans call for building a portion of the complex on top one of the garages. He says the biggest challenge so far -- acquiring land. He hopes this month’s court action is a step toward making the center a reality.

“It creates a path, not just for the Capital Sports Complex, but for other entities -- potentially hotels, potentially the city of Charleston, anyone else to look at acquiring these garages and get them to where they need to be,” he said. “This is a pretty significant development.”

Salango added that developers have back-up locations for the sports complex, if the garage does not work out. He estimates its completion could take another four years.

As for a potential sale of the garages, the petitioners are asking the court to take quick action -- even recommending a Charleston real estate firm as receiver. There’s no word on when the court may take action.