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maple lane mall sold

Friday, November 17, 2017 17:56 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

A farm store chain with a location in Niles has purchased the struggling Maple Lane Mall in LaPorte.

Rural King closed on the sale of the 221,000 square foot building October 27 for $4.1 million, according to public records on file with LaPorte County government.

The listed seller of the mall built in 1975 was a trust with the International Bank of Chicago.

Attempts to contact representatives of the Mattoon, Illinois-based company about its

future plans for the site were not successful.

Steve Nicksic, a realtor with South Bend-based Bradley Company hired by IBC trust to sell the property, said he believes Rural King will open a store where Kmart used to be in the mall along Indiana 2 on the city's west side.

Kmart shut its doors in late March, leaving just Dunham Sports as one of just three businesses left in the once thriving mostly vacant mall.

Rural King has been opening stores at old Kmart locations in states like Tennessee, Kentucky and Virgina in recent years.

''That's one of the reasons they were attracted here,'' said Nicksic.

Bert Cook, executive director of the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corporation, said it's exciting to have new life breathed into the mall considering the potential for such large underutilized properties to become a real eyesore.

''It's one of the larger parcels in the city. To see it at 100-percent capacity and being used at 100-percent I think would be a really good thing for us,'' said Cook.

Nicksic said KMart still has a year or two left on its lease so breaking it would have to be agreed to before Rural King can start moving forward if its plans are to occupy that space.

Founded in 1960, Rural King has more than 100 locations in other states like Illinois, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to the company website.

Agriculture parts and equipment and livestock feed are among products its stores carry along a variety of other foods, household supplies, clothing and toys.