Today’s news:

Firm pulls out of Atlas deal

The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale, which are operating under bankruptcy protection, have hit yet another speed bump in the road to new ownership.

Last week Paul Millus, the court-appointed receiver for the property and lawyer with the Manhattan firm of Snitow, Kanfer, Holtzer & Millus LLP, said McCaffery Interests, a Chicago company that specializes in developing under-performing urban real estate, backed out of a plan to buy Atlas Park. Millus said the company decided the Shops were not a good fit for them.

Nevertheless, Millus said another company which specializes in finances and management, whose name he would not disclose, is very interested in the property.

“We believe that [transaction] should be completed in a week to two weeks,” Millus said.

Atlas Park, a 21-acre mall at 80-00 Cooper Ave., has had a short but troubled history. When it opened in 2006, it was conceived by developer Damon Hemmerdinger — who built the mall on an industrial park owned by his family — as an upscale retail center.

But the higher-end stores did not flourish and many retailers, such as Amish Market, furniture store Bombay Co. and card retailer Blue Tulip, ended up leaving. Hemmerdinger’s company, ATCO Properties & Management, ended its association with the property Feb.19, 2009, and the lenders, French banks Caylon and Societe Generale, foreclosed on the property that month. Millus, who essentially acts as the chief executive officer of the property, said in July 2009 that they were hoping to change the nature of the mall.

Atlas Park’s website lists 50 stores as open or opening, but the mall has had trouble holding on to tenants.

“I believe that it will stay barren until after a new owner is in place,” said Kathy Masi, of the Glendale Civic Association, in an e-mail. “People are not going to rent there when they do not know who their landlord will be — it is almost an impossible situation — a lose-lose for the community.”

Millus said the moment the deal closes with the new company, the firm will set a date for the sale, most likely some time in early to mid-December.

Despite its proximity to the holiday season, Millus said this will not affect the mall.

“Nothing will impact anything at the center,” Millus said. “Business as usual.”

Millus said he was confident despite McCaffery falling through.

“At the end of the day, we always have somebody in reserve and these parties are very, very interested in closing this deal,” Millus said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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