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May 8, 2019

New Midtown Mall owner had 24 code complaints at abutting properties since 2014

Photo | Brad Kane Midtown Mall in Worcester

The new owner of Midtown Mall, who also owns abutting buildings on Front Street and Commercial St., has an equally storied history dealing with Worcester building inspectors as the previous property owner, according to documents provided by the city.

Felicio Lana’s properties at 44 Front St., 50 Front St. and 250 Commercial St., have been the subject of 24 complaints or alleged code violations since November 2014, according to the documents.

City officials were notified of complaints ranging from mice, rats, cockroaches, infrastructure issues, safety hazards and mold.

Lana is the new owner of the Midtown Mall, a mixed-use property including two buildings, which he purchased for $4 million in May. City officials have long been eyeing taking action at the Front Street properties home to primarily minority-owned small businesses due to a litany of code violations cited at the property.

Lana did not return requests for comment on Wednesday.

The Worcester Redevelopment Authority gave former owner Dean Marcus until this month to come up with a redevelopment plan before initiating an eminent domain process, but officials now want to speak with Lana about the building’s future before taking action.

At 44 Front St., Lana was served with two orders for an overflowing dumpster, another order for an HVAC system for the entire building not working in the middle of July, and another for constructing apartments on the top two floors after permits for the project were denied.

Two other complaints for overflowing trash were corrected before inspections.

At 50 Front St., eight of the complaints were related to the Shangri La restaurant, but another resulted in court action after Lana failed for five months to fix a wall damaged after a car hit the building.

At 250 Commercial St., two orders were issued resulting in court action, including a flue that was piped incorrectly and a host of other issues relating to emergency lighting, blocked stairwells, the lack of weathertight and rodent proof doors and sprinkler system issues.

Other complaints were issued for graffiti, mold, and used needles found in front of the building.

According to property records, Lana acquired 44 Front St. in 2016 for $1.3 million and 50 Front St. for $2.3 million in 2012. Another man, Robert Fedor, was listed as a co-owner of Fifty Front Street LLC, the entity on the property record for that address.

In 2018, records show an LLC registered to only Lana acquired the property outright along with 250 Commercial St., which is located in the same building, for $257,958.

The city did not say if there were other violations at the dozens of properties Lana owns in Worcester. His property management company, Northeast Properties, lists 37 residential and commercial properties in Central Massachusetts.

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