Is it lights-off for Valle Vista today?

City officials say they are reassured after meeting with the new owners of Valle Vista mall that every effort to rejuvenate the crucial retail site will be made. Mall traffic is one of the keys, they say, and they think innovative ideas will bring more people back to the mall.

HARLINGEN — Valle Vista mall was powered up for business on Monday yet faced a midnight deadline to settle an outstanding, past-due electric bill from Reliant Energy.

The amount the troubled mall, purchased just over a year ago for a bargain $12.5 million by Kohan Retail Investment Group of New York, owes on its bill isn’t known.

A notice taped to an entry door at Valle Vista mall said the facility’s electrical power will be cut off Monday for non-payment. That was confirmed by a spokesman for Reliant Energy last week as well as by mall owner Mike Kohan.

The posting to Valle Vista Mall Realty Holdings LLC by Reliant Energy, required under the rules of the Texas Public Utility Commission, reads: “Electric service to this establishment is scheduled for disconnection on 09/30/2019 due to non-payment.”

Kohan, owner of the Kohan Retail Investment Group, said it was just a misunderstanding which will be quickly cleared up, an “error on our part,” he said last week. Kohan blamed the non-payment of the electric bill on still being new to the Harlingen mall’s operations despite having assumed ownership of the mall more than a year ago.

As of Monday afternoon, it was unclear whether payment had been made to prevent a disconnection by Reliant.

Kohan specializes in buying up distressed retail properties like malls, and currently operates more than 25 of them. Yet non-payment of taxes and power bills is a recurring theme at Kohan’s other mall properties across the nation, according to multiple newspaper and television reports.

Due to lack of payment on a $300,000 bill, Kohan-owned Rotterdam Square Mall in Schenectady, New York, lost power temporarily in February 2015, CNN Money reported at the time.

Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, has also suffered from a series of power disruptions, reported the MassLive newspaper website.

In December 2017, Indian River Mall in Vero Beach, Florida, received a notice of electricity cut-off due to unpaid bills and bounced checks totaling $428,175. The bill was paid the day electricity was to be shut off, WPTV-TV reported.

Due to the Kohan company’s non-payment of the power bill for Lycoming Mall in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, it lost power in August 2018, WNEP-TV reported.

Chapel Hill Mall in Akron, Ohio, was threatened with having its power disconnected in April of this year by Ohio Edison due to unpaid bills, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Kohan’s purchase of Valle Vista last summer did not include any financial incentives from the City of Harlingen, city officials said Monday.