CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame has been in the Charleston Town Center for the past four years.
Its companion store, the West Virginia Museum of Music, is right across the hall and has been here since June. But they might not be there for much longer.
The Charleston Town Center’s new owner is the Hull Property Group out of Augusta. They bought the mall property back in May for an undisclosed price.
The museums don’t pay rent or utilities, which isn’t sitting well with the new owners.
A Hull spokesperson told 13 News, “This is rarely seen, costly, and something that we simply cannot afford to sustain.”
“I’m hoping for the best and I’m not going to jump to conclusions,” said Michael Lipton, who is the director of both museums.
Lipton said his museums are non-profit and bring people into the mall. He hopes the new owners consider that.
“We have very little discretionary money to pay those kinds of expenses plus I think our role here is to create an environment where people want to come in,” he said.
Lipton said his negotiations with Hull Property Group haven’t even really started yet, but said he knows the new owner has a tough job.
“This is a very difficult time for retail, it’s a difficult time for malls. It’s all compounded by the virus so I would not be to be the one having to make these decisions,” he said.
Hull Property Group added, “We are doing our best to work through these issues but need to restore the basic principles of a landlord/tenant relationship in order to move forward.”
“I’m hopeful that they will recognize that we’ve created these two really nice spaces,” Lipton said.
Lipton said there are no other museums like these in the state and said he wants to be part of the mall’s future.
Monthly performances at the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame should start up again soon after being stopped because of the pandemic.