LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) – An upcoming foreclosure sale is creating uncertainty around the future of Valley View Mall.
The mall has been a staple of the Coulee Region since it opened in 1980.
Tod Wilson has been a shop owner at Valley View for the past 15 years, creating the PopCon Shop in August 2017.
Wilson’s business has been very successful, and he’s grateful for the opportunity to grow within the mall.
“We haven’t had a problem bringing people into the store itself,” Wilson said. “Our traffic has actually increased every year, we get more and more people in our store.”
The Made 4 U shop also started with a smaller setup before becoming a main fixture of Valley View.
“We used to be just a pop up, and we stayed here,” Made 4 U employee Lucy Richards said. “People are anxious that we’re here, they come here for all the unique gift ideas, the traffic has been quite well for us here.”
While the two locally-owned shops have seen success, Wilson says the mall as a whole has fallen on hard times.
“We’ve seen traffic drop consistently almost year after year, you see less and less people in the mall,” Wilson described. “I think all malls have seen that to varying degrees, but it’s definitely followed the trend of national retail.”
As a result of declining business and shop closures, La Crosse County issued a judgment of foreclosure to the mall’s owners in November 2020.
Three parcels of land, two of which contain the main sections of the mall, will be sold in a public auction via the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department.
The auction is set for March 8 at 10 AM in the center hallway of the La Crosse County Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center.
10% of the successful bid is required to be paid immediately via cash, money order, or certified check, and the balance needs to be paid no later than 10 days after the court’s confirmation of the sale.
Wilson sees the impending sale as an opportunity for growth at Valley View.
“I’m pretty positive, I think the mall is going to be probably bought and operated as a mall,” Wilson said. “It may even bring a buyer in that’s willing to invest a little bit of money into the property to improve some things that have probably been neglected over the last 15 years.”
Managers have assured tenants the mall will operate as usual for the time being.
Made 4 U Owner Jenny Arnes hopes that’s the case for the foreseeable future, saying the mall is needed in the Coulee Region.
“Everybody’s got a story to tell, so they’re not just here shopping, they’re interacting and they’re sharing,” Arnes expressed. “Some people are telling you a funny story, and some people, their heart is broken, and they just need somebody to listen.”
The sale does not include the Hyvee being built on the northeast corner of the mall, or the connected La Crosse VA Clinic.
The additional parcel in the sale consists of woods to the south of the mall, and the three parcels combined are assessed at more than $27 million.
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