From the Queens Chronicle:
The Schools at Atlas Park? That’s one option being explored by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) in recent discussions with college and city officials.
Crowley is engaged in early talks to convert vacant space at the beleaguered Shops at Atlas Park into CUNY classrooms — an effort she hopes can both save the struggling Glendale mall and bring long-absent services available at Queens’ community colleges to the campusless community.
The mall — once touted as a regional destination, with its outdoor storefronts, upscale vendors and abundant green space — never got off the ground. Completed in 2006, business at the shopping center quickly soured as the Great Recession began, sending its owners into foreclosure early last year when they defaulted on a $128 million loan.
Paul Millus, an attorney appointed as receiver over the mall, has struggled for months to attract high-profile tenants. And while he contends that the shopping center will ultimately turn the corner, he said classrooms could be a welcome addition. Millus said a private university, which he declined to name, had also approached executives about moving to Atlas.
Even some tenants seemed to embrace the idea. One store owner, who asked to remain anonymous because of ongoing negotiations with mall managers, thought a well funded effort could easily secure a comfortable space for CUNY, saying that many of the center’s economically challenged shops would jump at the opportunity to escape their leases and leave with dignity.
Atlas Park’s current owners are preparing to sell the complex in an upcoming foreclosure auction. Millus said the event would be held sometime within the next 60 days.