The Voorhees Township Committee has voted to use eminent domain in hope of putting much of the former Echelon Mall in the hands of a new owner, in an attempt to revitalize the property.
Committee members voted unanimously Monday to designate parts of Voorhees Town Center as “condemnation redevelopment areas,” meaning the township can go to court to force the sale of the largely vacant mall, the Camden Courier-Post reported.
The Camden County property is among 43 malls acquired by Great Neck, N.Y.-based Namdar Realty Group since 2012, making it the biggest buyer of the retail centers during the period.
Many of those properties have been beset by allegations of shoddy maintenance, including claims of leaky roofs, broken electrical systems, and a roach infestation at a Florida mall that prompted a lawsuit against the company.
Voorhees Township officials have characterized the move toward seizing the mall as a reaction to alleged maintenance lapses that have resulted in rising vacancies.
Mario DiNatale, the township’s director of community and business development, told the Courier-Post that the committee expects to hear proposals from three developers on new uses for the property.
Elliot Nassim, chief executive of Namdar partner Mason Asset Management, who handles media queries for both companies, did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking comment.
He previously disputed characterizations of Namdar’s relationship with Voorhees Township as antagonistic, saying the two sides are working closely to redevelop the property.
Namdar bought the property in 2015 from Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.