Auction of malls cancelled
Johannesburg - The Lonehill Shopping Centre and Bel Air Mall have been sold and the auction of the two properties has been cancelled, Auction Alliance said on Monday.
"The liquidators have received and accepted, with the support of secured creditor Absa Bank, offers for the Lonehill Shopping Centre and Bel Air Mall.
"Auction Alliance is not at liberty to confirm the purchase price but we are at liberty to advise that the auction is cancelled."
The sale of the Johannesburg malls followed the high-profile liquidation of various entities controlled by property moguls, the Theodosiou brothers.
The brothers - Tony, Dimitri and Sedrick - allegedly built shopping malls without the required council permission.
In April 2007, the City of Johannesburg was granted two court orders, which the brothers ignored, to stop extensions of the well-known Lonehill Shopping Mall without council permission.
In a landmark decision in the Johannesburg High Court in 2007, Judge Ivor Schwartzmann handed the brothers a three-month suspended sentence, R20 000 in fines and warned them they would be jailed if they did not "immediately cease" with the unapproved construction of the Lonehill mall.
At the time, irate Lonehill residents and the Johannesburg City Council hailed the court order as a victory to stop unlawful commercial property development in prime residential suburbs.
The Johannesburg-born brothers, who traded under the name Universal Property Professionals, were involved in retail and commercial property development for more than three decades, but incurred massive debt when they developed and renovated two regional shopping malls and other developments around the country.
In October 2008, Absa Bank brought an application to liquidate Immobili Retail Investments, which owns the 30 000m² Lonehill Shopping Centre, and also applied to liquidate Bel Air Mall, which owns a 20 000m² mall on Malibongwe Drive in North Riding.
The bank, which was owed more than R900m and accruing interest at R11m per month, brought a 4 000-page liquidation application in the Pretoria High Court.
A lengthy two-year legal spat between the bank and the developers ensued after the provisional liquidation order was granted, as the brothers then brought an application to have Absa's applications set aside.