Woodsonia attorney: JO-ANN store ‘absurd and unreasonable’

Woodsonia lawyer reacts to JOANN's statement
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: May. 2, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - An attorney representing the company re-developing the Conestoga Mall described hold-out JO-ANN Fabrics’ approach to lease negotiations as “completely absurd and unreasonable.”

JO-ANN last month sued Woodsonia over the property dispute. In it’s suit JO-ANN is asking a judge to void a section of it’s original lease with the former mall owner which grants money to the landlord in case of a condemnation, that any condemnation proceeding by the Grand Island Community Redevelopment Authority is a breach of its lease, and that Woodsonia pay JO-ANN $2.4 million in damage.

In a statement released Monday by a public relations firm representing JO-ANN, the company said in part, “We would implore that Woodsonia and the CRA reconsider its position and allow JOANN to continue serving Grand Island community members at the Conestoga Mall.”

Woodsonia’s attorney, Greg Scaglione, said Tuesday that the company has been negotiating with JO-ANN since Sept. 2022. Since then, Scaglione said Woodsonia has made three offers:

  • Cancel its current lease, ask them to halt operations during renovation, and offer them a new lease when renovation is finished
  • Pay JO-ANN to move to another store location in Grand Island including damages and relocation expenses
  • Pay JO-ANN a lump sum settlement in case they decided to leave Grand Island

Scaglione did not say what the proposed payment amounts were, but said they were well above what was legally required.

Scaglione also questioned one of the claims in JO-ANN’s lawsuit, saying the provision which provides that damages related to a condemnation be paid to the landlord is a standard provision in retail lease agreements. He said JO-ANN’s lawsuit is an attempt on their part to get out of a standard provision which they agreed to in writing.

Scaglione also said Woodsonia hired an independent appraiser to estimate the value of Jo-Ann’s business and claimed that the company was willing to pay JO-ANN “hundreds of thousands of dollars” more than the appraised estimate.

“The settlement negotiations are very frustrating,” Scaglione said, “because JO-ANN is backing out of its word and is asking for much more than it’s worth.”

“We hope we can make a deal with them,” he said, “but nothing that has happened since September 2022 that would indicate that JO-ANN will be reasonable.”

The JO-ANN statement came out Monday, the same day that a Hall County judge ruled that AMC theaters should be evicted from the mall.

With the crash of falling bricks, the construction of the Conestoga Marketplace began Friday morning.