SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Plaza, a 72-acre complex in the city’s Liberty Heights neighborhood, is headed to foreclosure Oct. 14, its owners having defaulted on a $30 million loan.
The property includes a Stop & Shop supermarket and other stores including the vacant 70,000-square-foot shell of a Kmart that closed in 2017.
The auction is set for noon Oct. 14 in person at the plaza, according to auctioneers Sullivan & Sullivan. The mortgage foreclosure document was recorded Sept. 10 at the Hampden County Registry of Deeds.
The property’s been managed for nearly a year by a court-appointed receiver following complaints by Stop & Shop of malfunctioning parking lot lights and cracks and hazards in the parking lot pavement, according to documents on file following a lawsuit in Hampden Superior Court. Court papers also detail that the owners were in arrears with their management company, had failed to pay its trash removal company and landscaping vendors in 2020 and the resulting overflow of garbage and foliage resulted in a city citation for litter and trash in July 2020.
The Plaza was Springfield Airport from 1929 to 1955 and home base for the Granville Brothers and their Gee-Bee Aircraft. Gee-Bees dominated high-speed air races in the 1930s.
The plaza was built in the late 1950s as the city’s first shopping center and once boasted a J.M. Fields department store. It also once had a Jerry Lewis Cinema.
Partners Davenport Companies and Albany Road Real Estate Partners bought the property in 2014 for $35 million and spent about $6 million on repairs and improvements, including removing a log shaded portico over the sidewalk.
The old movie theater at the project was rehabbed into a trampoline park and a new home for the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Monday, Davenport referred questions to Albany Road and Albany Road didn’t call back. Both companies list the property on their inventory of available commercial space.
Davenport, which is also involved in other developments in Springfield including the recently completed Willy’s Overland building, said it is a minority partner with Albany Road taking the lead.
Over the years the partners have floated the idea of converting some of the the property to residential use as demand for retail space falls in the face of online competition.
A search of bankruptcy records show the partnership, doing business as Albany Road -Springfield Plaza, as a debtor owed money by bankrupt retailers inducing Radio Shack and the company behind Fallas department stores.
Mainstay Koffee Kup Bake Shop moved in 2020 to the former Mickey’s Bike Shop in Chicopee.
Today, the plaza has an Ocean State Job Lot, Rocky’s hardware and other stores.