Legends Outlet Mall Auction to be Finalized Monday

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- There will soon be a new owner of the Legends Outlet Mall, and many are wondering what that will mean for the future of the shopping center. Wyandotte County officials say don't worry -- the stores will stay as retail sales at the Legends are stronger than ever.

Five real estate investment firms from across the nation gathered on the sixth floor of the federal courthouse in Kansas City on Friday to discuss bids placed on the Legends.

The best bid -- not necessarily the highest -- will be awarded the Legends Outlet Mall. After the first round of bidding, two companies are at the top with a bid of $117.5 million. The current owners owe $179 million. Wyandotte County officials blame the downturn in the economy.

The Legends opened in 2006, and with 100 stores and restaurants in the area, there were high hopes it would bring in a lot of revenue. But the recession led to lower than expected sales numbers, and many stores closed and moved out. Because of this, the owners -- RED Development and a group of German investors -- have struggled to pay the mortgage and last November, a federal judge found them in default of a $179 million loan.

Unified Government officials say retail sales at the Legends was up 12 percent last year and they are excited to see what a new owner might bring to help attract more businesses there, as well as more shoppers.

Unified Government officials say not to worry. With sales still strong at the Legends, they are ahead on their payment schedule and project to pay the rest of what is owed on the mall very soon.

The winning bid won't be finalized until Monday.

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