The Pines Mall is no longer up for auction.
Ed Carrington of Carrington Electric told The Commercial Wednesday afternoon that his company has been paid in full by the mall’s owners for an outstanding debt, and the foreclosure auction that had been scheduled for April 30 has been called off.
“I instructed [Attorney] Jack Talbot to close the case,” Carrington said.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt Jr. awarded the foreclosure decree in late February after a lawsuit was filed by Carrington against mall owners James Vu, John Vu and Thuythien (Judy) Vu, DBA Pines Mall, according to court documents obtained by The Commercial.
The lawsuit noted that work performed by Carrington Electric at the mall was never paid for by the owners. The balance owed to Carrington Electric on July 25, 2016, was for $18,759.62 for parking lot lighting installation and repair work, pursuant to a contract with management, court documents show.
The lawsuit was first heard on Sept. 25, 2018, with Carrington and his attorneys appearing before Wyatt. The judge added attorney’s fees and interest to the amount owed to Carrington, totaling more than $28,000.
Attempts to reach Vu Wednesday afternoon for comment were unsuccessful.
The mall today sits largely empty. JC Penney’s announced that it’s closing later this year, and the Dillard’s store recently shifted to a clearance center, offering discounted merchandise. Sears left several years ago. Dillard's will be the only remaining anchor store at the property when Penney's shutters.
The property, which opened in 1986, has been a hot topic around Pine Bluff since news first broke about the scheduled auction.
James Taylor of Pine Bluff said he had hoped the mall would find new owners.
“It’s run down and pitiful,” Taylor said. “We need someone who cares about it and who cares about Pine Bluff. It’s clear that these current owners don’t care at all.”
Regina Worley echoed Taylor, saying that “it’s a shame when you go inside and it’s mostly empty. We all have so many memories of going there when it was bright and shiny and full of life. It’s just depressing now.”