Massena Sunrise Mall has been sold after years-long legal debacle
By JIMMY LAWTON
MASSENA – After years in legal limbo, the Massena Sunrise Mall has been sold, according to St. Lawrence County Attorney Stephen Button.
A settlement reached between St. Lawrence County and Shakil Ahmad transfers ownership of the building to Ahmad for $5,000.The price is the same as the bid Amhad made on the property at a 2011 tax auction, but the sale was delayed after then St. Lawrence County Attorney Michael Crowe stalled the sale because it was believed Ahmad was acting as an agent for Malik Estate LLC., the former owner. The bid entered by Ahmad was far below the estimated property value, but was higher than any other bids that year.
At the time the county believed Ahmad was purchasing the property to act in the interests of the Malik Estate and blocked the sale.
Because the county denied the sale, Ahmad filed a lawsuit, which remained unsettled for nearly six years. In that time the mall fell into disrepair and has become a major eyesore in Massena.
In an attempt to get the dispute settled Attorney Stephen Button filed a motion to dismiss the long-stalled lawsuit, which prompted a meeting between Ahmad and the county. There it was agree that the property would be sold under the condition the county would not be held responsible for any potential environmental issues.
The property is believed to be contaminated with asbestos, but no studies have been performed on the property to confirm this. The agreement also releases the county from any claims of causes of actions Ahmad has or might take against the county in the future as related to the property.
Button says the sale is good for the county and Massena as it puts property back on the tax rolls and transfers it someone who intends to rehabilitate the debunked mall.