Reprinted from TRIB Live.
A judge hit the owners of the shuttered Century III Mall with a hefty fine Wednesday in response to the dilapidated condition of West Mifflin’s once-mighty shopping center.
During a brief hearing Wednesday, District Judge Richard D. Olasz Jr. fined Century III Mall Pa. LLC and Moonbeam Capital Investments just more than $240,000 for violating West Mifflin ordinances on sanitation, unsafe structures and weeds and high growth, court records show. Moonbeam Capital Investments obtained the property in 2013.
The Las Vegas-based company previously pledged to revitalize the site. Instead, the mall closed in 2019 and now sits dilapidated, structurally unsound and covered in graffiti.
Century III Mall Pa. LLC shares an address with Moonbeam in Nevada and was listed as the debtor in bankruptcy court proceedings in 2018, court records show.
A clerk in Olasz’s court said Moonbeam has six months to pay the fine or up to 30 days to appeal the decision to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
The attorney representing the mall owners, James Berent, did not return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment.
Walter Anthony, West Mifflin’s community development director, said the municipality previously tried to fine the site’s owners as a way of motivating them to do something with the mall — once one of the finest of its kind in the nation.
Moonbeam Capital Investments was fined $80,000 in 2018 because of the poor condition of the site, Anthony said. It is unclear if they ever paid the bill.
“They’ve neglected to maintain the site or do anything, over several years, a long period of time,” Anthony said after Wednesday’s hearing.
“The borough was willing to work with them,” he added. “But they’ve neglected to do anything.”
Moonbeam Capital Investments, whose website lists Century III as a property, did not return calls or emails Wednesday seeking comment.
Donald Brucker, Allegheny County chief deputy fire marshal, previously said the mall is plagued with mold and broken glass and that several sections of the ceiling are leaning or sagging. Electrical power to the building was cut years ago.
West Mifflin police Chief Gregory McCulloch has said trespassing and vandalism at the site are rampant.
West Mifflin Council previously announced plans to lobby local, county and federal officials for help securing the $15 million cost to raze the building.
The borough plans to hold a condemnation hearing on July 18, Anthony said.