MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Mall of America is asking the state legislature for help dealing with the financial hit it’s taking due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says he would support legislation that would allow the mall to tap into a tax increment financing fund that already exists to help cover loses while stores have been closed.
“They are struggling as a result of shutting down everything,” Gazelka said in a news conference Friday morning. “I believe they collected 5% of last month’s rent across the Mall of America, and that creates a huge financial problem. It’s a tourist attraction for Minnesota, for the whole world.”
Gazelka says there is no agreement yet, but he’s asking for the governor and house speaker to consider.
“I think in concept I’m certainly willing to hear them on this,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a news briefing Friday.
Walz says there needs to be more collaboration with the City of Bloomington. The governor said commercial real estate is facing a challenge across the state with only 57% of commercial rent being paid on May 1 while 95% of residential rent payments were made.
The City of Bloomington does not support the idea, according to Gazelka.
WCCO has reached out to the Mall of America to learn more about the request.
Lawmakers have to finish passing all legislation this weekend before the session ends Monday.
“Stay tuned,” Gazelka said.