After 5 stores abruptly close, Northlake Mall files lawsuits

Northlake Mall is fighting back against five stores that abruptly closed, claiming they are breaking their leases by not being open.

Spinoso Real Estate Group, which operates the mall, is suing American Eagle, Chico’s, Michael Kors, Soma and White House Black Market. Chico’s, Soma and White House Black Market are all under the Chico’s brand.

The lawsuits were filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court in late July. Spinoso’s lawsuit against American Eagle was moved to federal court this week.

Spinoso claims American Eagle vacated and abandoned the premises on April 29. The most recent lease for American Eagle runs from Jan. 31, 2022 to Jan. 31, 2024, according to an exhibit included with the lawsuit.

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According to the lawsuit against Michael Kors, Michael Kors closed on May 21, despite signing a 10-year lease on Aug. 1, 2023.

The lawsuit claims Northlake sent a “demand to reopen” notice to Michael Kors, Chico’s, Soma and White House Black Market on June 6. Lease exhibits included with the Chico’s lawsuit claim the Soma lease expires on Dec. 31, 2024 and the Chico’s and White House Black Market leases expire on Feb. 28, 2024.

“A national retailer vacating a shopping center tends to provoke other retailers, both national and local, to vacate the shopping center,” attorneys representing the mall wrote to Soma. “The tenant’s decision to cease operating in substantially all of the premises or abandon it all together will damage the landlord regardless of whether the tenant continues to pay rent and other charges due under the lease.”

Apple and Buckle have also exited in recent months but are not facing lawsuits.

The latest bankruptcy court filings claim that the mall is at 85% capacity, which includes temporary stores. The mall also just put in place new security protocols which include gun-sniffing dogs, cameras and license plate readers.

The mall did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. While Northlake has lost several high-profile stores, the mall recently just welcomed Spirit Halloween to its directory.

Seamus Hughes contributed to this report.

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