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‘We had no idea’: Valley West Mall businesses shocked to hear shopping center in foreclosure

By Lauren Johnson

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    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) — Some of the stores inside Valley West Mall had no idea the mall was facing foreclosure.

“We don’t know if we’ll be able to stay here for a long time or what’s going to happen so we’re going to stay here and stay open and stay operating for as long as we can,” said Laura Johnson with the Des Moines Children’s Museum in the Valley West Mall.

She says she was never told the mall was in foreclosure.

The children’s museum has been open since 2017 and joins many other businesses that are now in jeopardy.

Johnson anticipates they will see 60,000 customers this year.

This announcement may encourage them to seek a new space so they can grow.

“We need more space in the long term and we’re just exploring our options and how to do that. And we’ve widened our search even more now it’s less stable what’s going to happen with the mall,” Johnson said.

U.S. Bank notified the mall owners in April of their default on the loan and says the entire loan, along with other fees, need to be paid in full.

Court records show the total amount owed is more than $41 million.

KCCI reached out to the mall for more on the claims and didn’t hear back.

Last year, the city of West Des Moines announced plans to revamp the mall — but the foreclosure brings that project to a halt.

Once a bustling shopping center now full of empty stores — those who still dwell in there hope their windows won’t shutter as well.

“We would love to stay here, our initial plan would be to grow here and then move into a larger space,” Johnson said.

U.S. Bank could sell the mall once a judge rules on the foreclosure.

The mall’s owners, Watson Centers which is based out of Minneapolis, is able to delay that sale for up to two months.

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