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    Danville’s Village Mall set to be auctioned off, leaving locals concerned

    By Will Simmons,


    DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Village Mall is set to be auctioned off next month, and people in Danville are concerned more businesses and jobs could be leaving town.

    Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said he’s frustrated with the situation and doesn’t know why the owners of the decades-old mall are selling, and communication with them has been difficult.

    Now, people like PJ Bourne are left wondering what the future will hold.

    “I love participating in shopping at my mall,” Bourne said. “And so, for them to be taking it away or selling it is really an upsetting situation right now.”

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    The Village Mall has been a community staple in Danville since the 70s but its future is uncertain.
    The owners, AZT Corporation, will be auctioning off the retail space starting May 13th. Bourne was shopping there with her daughter. She said it seems like businesses are heading in the wrong direction.

    “I believe as the people, the citizens of Danville, we need more stores,” Bourne said. “So, any time things seem to be in jeopardy, it’s an issue for all of us.”

    The auction will sell off the mall in sections. The part where shops are currently leasing has an opening bid of $1.75 million, while the empty spaces will start at just one dollar.

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    Carla Schafer has lived in Danville since the mall was built and has seen it go through phases.

    “I don’t know if you’ve driven around and noticed that a lot of empty buildings around here, and I hate to see that for the future of the kids and people’s grandkids and everybody else growing up. It’s going to make a huge difference if we don’t get something done in here.”

    Williams said with bids starting so low there is no telling who will buy the empty spaces. He said the city also has no control over what the private seller does so the only thing people can do is try and be optimistic.

    “Well, let’s just keep our fingers crossed that this community can rebuild itself,” Schafer said. “This is a good area. We can keep it a good area if we continue to make it a good area.”

    “I pray that the mall will stay,” Bourne said, “or pray that we’ll get a better mall, and then also pray for the people that lost their jobs at Quaker , and pray for the people here [whose lives] and jobs also might be in jeopardy.”

    Mayor Williams said they offered a $100,000 market study to explore possible options for the mall but the owners were not interested. WCIA 3 reached out to the company, but has not received a response.

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