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Pyramid mall sues Amazon over closure

Stephen Congel and Pyramid Management Group’s Crossgates Mall in Albany (Pyramid Management Group, Google Maps)

Amazon was at a retail crossroads when it closed its “4 star” stores. Now he’s being sued by Crossgates Mall – despite still paying his rent.

A subsidiary of Pyramid Management Group, owner of the Albany mall, is taking the retail giant to court, The Times Union reported. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon, which closed its store in March, owes the mall $629,000.

The lawsuit isn’t about rent, which Amazon pays under a 10-year lease that doesn’t expire until 2032. Instead, the case is about “the unearned portion of a global stipend.” , according to the Daily Gazette.

Amazon’s move to Crossgates Mall lasted barely a year. The company opened its 4-star store in February 2021, taking up a modest 4,500 square feet in the 700,000 square foot mall, the largest in the region.

Amazon closed the store on March 19. Three days later, the mall sent a notice to Amazon, saying it had breached the lease. Neither party has commented to The Times Union.

Amazon closed its 4-star stores — so named because they only sell products rated four stars or better by customers — when it shuttered most of its physical outlets in March. The e-commerce giant has closed its 68 bookstores, pop-ups and stores selling toys and home goods in the US and UK.

Crossgates Mall has sued several of its tenants who stopped paying rent during the pandemic. Pyramid is struggling with its debt as Covid accelerated a crisis that plagued many malls across the country.

Last month, however, Pyramid’s business fortunes in Albany seemed to be turning. New York-based real estate lender Argentic has provided a 10-year loan on neighboring Crossgates Commons, also owned by Pyramid.

Pyramid also recently received a three-year loan extension at Buffalo’s Walden Galleria.

—Holden Walter-Warner