EDWARDSVILLE — Forty Fort dentist Charles Musto and his daughter Vanessa bought the Gateway Mall for $10 million from legendary drag racing champ Joe Amato.
The transaction was finalized on October 27 and is between Joe Amato Properties (seller) and Musto & Daughter Real Estate.
Vanessa Musto, 23, said the mall is currently 90% occupied and she said she and her father have already started making improvements to the property.
“My dad has been building his portfolio of commercial and residential properties for 25 years,” Vanessa said. “When approached about the Gateway Mall he thought it would be a great addition. It’s something bigger than we’ve ever done before.
Musto said she and her father already have security measures in place at Gateway. They have installed high tech cameras throughout the parking lot which will make it safer for tenants and customers. They have also repainted the lines of the parking lot and they plan to paint the facade that faces Route 11, as well as adding new signage.
“We want to liven it up a bit,” she said. “We had two murals painted on the Northampton Street side of the underpasses. Eric Bussart is the artist and he does a great job.
It’s all about Musto & Daughter’s trademark theme, which comes straight from the 1950s, as evidenced by this pink T-Bird from 1957.
“We want to display our personalities through the center,” she said. “We drive by every night to check. We want to serve the community as best we can.
Vanessa Musto said she and her father also own several other properties in Luzerne County – Triangle Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, several on Schechter Drive in Wilkes-Barre Township near the arena, the Forty Fort Theater Office Building, the Citizens Bank Building in Forty Fort and Penn Plaza in Wilkes-Barre.
“The Gateway Shopping Center doubles the number of units in our portfolio,” she said.
Musto said it hired Liana Kissinger, director of rental operations, and Nicole Kovalski, director of rental. Both worked for Joe Amato Properties.
Vanessa Musto’s title is Brand Marketing Manager.
“I’m really glad I sold the Gateway to someone in the area,” Amato said. “Charlie Musto knows the area.”
Amato, 77, owned the Gateway Mall for 15 years. He said he still owns the East End Center near the Wyoming Valley Mall, which he said he bought for $3 million in 2015, and he plans to work to build that property in the future. Amato also has a resort near downtown Wilkes-Barre. movie theater.
“I recently completed an apartment complex in Palm Beach, Florida,” Amato said. “And I will build another one soon. You have to take care and I appreciate that.
Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.