A judge Tuesday reserved decision on a bid by the owner of the Thruway Mall for a preliminary injunction preventing Adam Meldrum & Anderson Co. from relocating to the nearby Walden Galleria before the courts rule on a leasing dispute.
State Supreme Court Justice Norman E. Joslin also reserved decision on a bid by William Benton's TransAmerican Partners for a non-jury trial on the leasing dispute before AM&A's threatened July 28 closing of its 100,000-square-foot Thruway Mall store.
Joslin didn't indicate when he will rule on the week-old breach of contract dispute.
William F. Savino, Benton's attorney, told the judge the AM&A's store is the anchor facility in the 90-store Thruway Mall and letting it close before the lease runs out might amount to "pulling the plug" financially on the entire mall.
Frank T. Gaglione, AM&A's attorney, said the Thruway lease limits the mall owner to seeking money damages and doesn't prevent the store from relocating prior to the end of the lease.
Savino insisted the lease also contains language that allows Benton to seek court intervention to prevent premature departure of tenants.
Savino estimated AM&A's might pay Benton's organization about $300,000 for the right to leave the mall prematurely, but Benton isn't interested in money damages at the moment. Benton needs the AM&A's store to keep the mall financially viable, Savino said.
Savino also contends the lease, which runs through Oct. 31, 1991, contained a non-compete clause barring the Buffalo-based department store from operating a business within four miles of the Thruway Mall. The Walden Galleria is about one mile from the mall, which opened in 1953.
AM&A's announced plans for a Galleria store almost two years ago. Current plans call for AM&A's to occupy the 150,000 square feet of space left vacant at the Galleria by the financial problems of the B. Altman department store chain.