The parties in a lawsuit filed by the City of Northwood against the owner of the Woodville Mall are to meet next week to schedule a pretrial hearing.
The city filed a nuisance abatement complaint in January in Wood County Common Pleas Court seeking to have the deteriorating structure torn down.
A May 14 session at 9 a.m. will be used to schedule a pre-trial hearing, according to the case docket.
|Windows and doors at the mall have been boarded up.
Bob Anderson, city administrator, said last week there has been little contact between the parties except through attorneys.
He said the city continues to incur expenses of maintaining retention ponds in the back of the property that collects run-off water from parking areas and the building.
“We had to replace one pump and have Toledo Edison drop a power line to the ponds,” he said. “Our main concern is a major storm could cause some flooding back there. The ponds should be pumped at a regulated rate. As a city we can’t just let it go and say it’s not our problem because it is private property.”
The city will likely seek reimbursement for its costs by having them added to the site’s property taxes, Anderson said, adding said city officials have also proposed having the ponds and adjacent property donated to the city.
The city’s lawsuit was filed against Soleyman Ghalchi, of Great Neck, New York, who bought the mall for $800,000 in December, and the seller, Mehran Kohansieh, of Little Neck, New York.
The complaint contends the building is in violation of fire regulations and health department codes.
Anderson said the city’s goal through the lawsuit is to work with the owner and expedite the demolition of the mall.
“Our position is the final outcome will be the demolition of the mall,” he said. “We want to reach an agreement that it will happen sooner rather than later.”
Juanita Jones, the former general manager of the mall who’s told city officials she’s representing the new owner, said in February she was scheduling surveys of the asbestos in the building – which would be the first step in its demolition.
She couldn’t be reached for comment.
With the closing of the Andersons store earlier this year, Sears remains the only operating business at the mall. Its building isn’t part of the city’s lawsuit.