What’s next for Berkshire Shopping Center? Maybe family activities and a restaurant. But first, the renovations. | Local News


The 5 futures: the plans offered for the Berkshire shopping center

An aerial view of the Berkshire Shopping Center in Lanesborough in September 2019.

PITTSFIELD – Two years after buying Berkshire Mall, an Ohio man is said to be on the verge of letting an outside management company try to revive the dying property.

The resource person in the effort, Christina Castaneda, said an agreement with the mall owner should assign control of the operations and management of the Berkshire mall to Bedi & Associates LLC.

“We’re in the middle of a transition right now,” she said in an interview from her home in Michigan.

Castaneda is working under contract for Bedi & Associates and personally leading the efforts to redevelop another shopping center owned by Durga Property Holdings in Cincinnati, southwest Michigan.

Castaneda said she is planning regular trips to Lanesborough in the coming weeks and has launched a new social media presence for the Berkshire Shopping Center. This Facebook page, “Berkshire Mall: The ReOpening,” has over 400 subscribers.

Entrance to Berkshire Shopping Center

In a recent Facebook post, Christina Castaneda described efforts to bring the Berkshire shopping center back to life. “We all know there is a lot to be accomplished and we are up to the challenge. We look forward to making the mall property useful to the community again, ”she wrote.

“I am working directly with the owners of the property to have the mall repaired and put back into service,” Castaneda said in a July 28 article. “We all know there is a lot to be accomplished and we are up to the challenge. We look forward to making the mall property useful to the community again.

Castaneda said she spoke to a national company that runs family-friendly activities, such as mini-golf, rock climbing and bumper cars, in large and old retail spaces. . The mall could seek to develop similar recreational activities on its own.

“We plan to make Lanesborough an entertainment destination,” Castaneda said.

Although Durga remains the owner of the mall under the agreement, Bedi & Associates will recruit investors to cover the cost of certain physical improvements needed to win back tenants and customers, she said.

Castaneda said the deal with Durga owner Vijaya Kumar Vemulapalli could be signed within two weeks. This pact would give the management company for which it works the latitude to act with more agility in recruiting companies. The mall closed in 2019, after a constant loss of tenants.

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Target and the Regal Cinemas continue to operate on independent plots in Lanesborough.

Castaneda is also working to revive the Orchards Mall in Benton Harbor, Michigan, through its work with Bedi & Associates. This Michigan mall and Berkshire Mall were previously owned by Mehran Kohansieh.

Kohansieh, also known as Mike Kohan, bought the Lanesborough Mall for $ 3.5 million in 2016 and sold it to Durga in 2019 for $ 1 million.

In 2019, The Eagle visited the Michigan Mall and spoke to tenants about life in a failing commercial destination.

Since joining the Michigan project in July 2020, Castaneda said, she has recruited more than 18 tenants. Plans call for transforming unused areas of the Michigan Mall into apartments and hotels. Construction was due to start in April, according to a local television report, but has not yet started, Castaneda said on Tuesday.

After visiting Lanesborough Shopping Center and looking at papers in her office, Castaneda said she was aware resuming activities would not be easy. A post on the new Facebook page celebrates the recent landscaping near the entrance near Target.

“There is a lot of work to be done,” she said on Tuesday. “There’s no way I’m inviting people with the state he’s in now.”

Along with the cosmetic upgrades, Castaneda said, she will make it a priority to recruit a restaurant to return to the property.

“It’s about making it usable,” she said.

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