The scheduled sheriff's sale of the Susquehanna Valley Mall will be held in the Snyder County courtroom in Middleburg on Aug. 9 to accommodate an expected crowd.

Snyder County Sheriff John Zechman said court documents filed by the U.S. Bank National Association has requested the Monroe Township mall be sold to recover nearly $33.4 million owed by Susquehanna Valley Mall Associates (SVMA).

Zechman has scheduled the public sale for 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9.

Typically, public sales are held in the lobby of the Sheriff's Office adjacent the courthouse, but Zechman said if the sale is held he anticipates a larger crowd and has relocated the auction to the courtroom.

"It varies, but most sales attract two to eight people," he said. "I expect more will show up for the mall sale. It's open to the public so I would expect some curious individuals.

Calls to Bill Hamilton, a representative of SVMA, and mall Manager Sharon Leonard were not returned Tuesday.

Zechman said the sale of the mall is not a certainty and could be canceled at any time before it begins if SVMA is able to negotiate a settlement with the mortgage holder or if the company files for bankruptcy.

The scheduled sale "is a month away. A lot can happen and it's not uncommon for these sales to be continued the night before," he said.

Bob Garrett, president and CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, expects there will be a change of mall ownership.

"I expect there will be new owners but that won't change the mall. People will still be able to shop," Garrett said.

The potential sale will not affect Boscov's, which opened in 1977, one year before the mall which was the largest shopping center in the area for 30 years.

Numerous retail shops and anchors including Bon-Ton, Sears and JC Penney have closed in recent years and several storefronts remain empty.

While the enclosed mall struggles, the nearby Monroe Marketplace shopping plaza has fared well since opening in 2008 with stand-alone department stores such as Target, Kohl's and Dick's Sporting Goods.

When Bed Bath and Beyond and Staples closed in February, two other retail clothing stores quickly announced they would be moving in.

Old Navy opened at the former Staples location on June 12 but the Ross Store opening has been delayed for what could be several months.

"We are unable to confirm an opening date until the landlord completes construction (of the building formerly occupied by Bed Bath and Beyond) and tenders possession of the store to us," said Ross Stores Inc. spokesman Connie Kao.

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