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What Will Happen With the Holiday Village Mall?

Major changes are in the works at Holiday Village Mall in Havre. While the parties involved have kept quiet about the details, a public sale notice in a Columbus, Mississippi, newspaper may be key to shedding light on the matter.

According to a public sale notice published Saturday in The Dispatch, Havre property owned by Security National Properties will be auctioned Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. at the offices of Penn Plaza in New York, New York. There is only one Havre in the U.S., not to be confused with Havre de Grace in Maryland. And Montana Cadastral indicates the only properties Louisiana-based SNP owns in Hill County, Montana, are the Holiday Village Mall. Quitclaim Deed and Trust Indenture paperwork in the Hill County Clerk and Recorder’s office confirm Holiday Village is owned by SNP.

The public sale notice in The Dispatch says that 27 SNP locations throughout the country, including the Holiday Village in Havre and Leigh Mall in Columbus, are up for auction Dec. 4.

The sale is “not necessarily written in stone,” The Dispatch reports. The company could catch up on its payments before the sale date, or it could try to file again for bankruptcy relief. But, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David Houston, the majority of cases go to public sale.

The 27 properties were put up as collateral on a five-year, $34.7-million loan SNP got from Colfin SNP-3 Funding in October 2014, when SNP was in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings. According to a publication by Fox Rothschild LLP: “Security National describes its business strategy as acquiring underperforming properties and then implementing a “stabilization of these properties through aggressive leasing and cost-cutting measures.”

Colfin manages Colony Capital, LLC. The Trust Indenture documents in the Clerk and Recorder’s office show that SNP borrowed the $34.7 million from Colony Capital and in return transferred its interests to Colony.

Colony Capital, which was reached through a public relations agent, declined to comment on the matter. Multiple SNP reps who were left voice messages with requests for comment did not reply, either.

However, although Holiday Village Mall tenants have been told their contracts forbid them to speak to the media, some did so on the basis of anonymity.

One Holiday Village tenant told The Herald that mall management held a meeting Sept. 25, during which those present were informed that on October 13 mall property ownership would revert back to Colony Capital. The tenant said they understood that the bank, referring to Colony Capital, will take control of the property.

There was no talk of the mall closing down during the meeting, the tenant emphasized.

Mall Manager Chandra Moomey also said there was absolutely no talk of the mall closing down.

The question of what the upcoming changes will look like has caused talk and concern among tenants.

“That’s in the air, what’s going to happen to management,” the first tenant said.

Another tenant said, “I’m scared. I’m worried about what happens to us as occupants.” The holiday season, just around the corner, is the most profitable time of the year, the tenant added. It’s worrisome thinking something might jeopardize upcoming sales.

The first tenant has less anxiety.

“I don’t feel nervous.”

The tenant said, whatever happens, or doesn’t, they feel confident things will turn out OK.

More reading on Havre businesses

New Business Brewing at the Mall

Sears in Havre is Closing

Havre Kmart is Closing

State Farm About to Begin Construction on New Building in Havre

The Holiday Village Mall opened Nov. 8, 1978 at a cost of $8 million. The project was spearheaded by developers Ted and Jack Mitchell, a father-son duo out of Great Falls.

The mall, land and buildings, are now valued at $6 million, according to Cadastral.

According to a Sept. 7, 1978 Havre Daily News article, the shopping center had leased 40 of the 43 business spaces by the time it opened and employed between 500 and 600 employees. The mall website says there are 17 tenants now.

Even before its official grand opening, there was concern the Holiday Village would take retail traffic from downtown businesses. Multiple stores including J.C. Penny’s and Woolworth’s had already moved from the downtown business district to be in the Holiday Village then. In a Sept. 22, 1978 HDN article, “Downtown, Holiday Village: room for both?” optimistic community leaders had said the two shopping areas – downtown and the Holiday Village  —could coexist because one was a collection of mostly chain stores and the other, downtown, had local specialty stores.

Over the years, since its opening, businesses in the Holiday Village have come and gone. More recently, the general feeling has been that they’ve mostly gone. On an optimistic note, one of the anonymous current tenants said they have seen fewer tenants in the mall than there are now.

Two of the most significant store departures happened this year, just months ago. Herberger’s, which moved in shortly after the Holiday Village’s opening, in spring of 1979, closed nationally this year after its parent company Bon-Ton went bankrupt and closed more than 200 of its stores. The other substantial Holiday Village departure was Sears Hometown Stores, which announced its closing shortly after Herberger’s.

Those spaces now remain empty.

The Holiday Village Mall in Havre. / The Havre Herald (406) 262-7778
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