"It was an offer we couldn’t refuse " Jeffrey R. Ronan general manager of Acanta Mall said.

The offer to buy the mall in Pale San Vitores was from a prominent local businessman according to Journal sources.

That offer led the owners of Acanta Mall "" Bluebell Guam Inc. "" to suddenly consider selling despite plans to develop the mall and amid about $650 000 worth of refurbishment and redecorating.

Ronan told the Journal "We thought it was a good and fair offer."

While he declined to supply specifics of the sale the Journal understands the property has attracted the serious interest of more than one party but an owner is expected to be announced within weeks.

Ronan who became general manager on April 1 said Acanta Mall’s owners had discussed upgrading the mall with him when he came on board. "The idea was not to sell it but to grow it." However with growing interest and three potential buyers Bluebell took the offers seriously.

The mall is in the final stages of upgrading. "We just finished refurbishment and painting " Ronan said. The project will be finished by the end of July. T&Y Construction and GMS Painting Division LLC were contractors working at the mall he said.

The mall has 12 ground-level stores of which 11 are let with a leasable retail area of 23 297 square feet and a leasable office area of 63 076 square feet.

Tenants include Fishbowl a bar; a Footlocker store; Natural an accessory and hair salon; Latte Stone Café; Lollipop an accessory store; Bambino which sells brand name goods; Loco Boutique; The Nature Gallery an art gallery; Pietros an Italian Restaurant; Lov-Lov an island-style wear retailer; and Cura a hair and beauty salon. Cura will be opening a day spa on the second level of Acanta Mall in August.

The first stores at Acanta Mall began opening in May 1995. Bluebell Pacific Inc. through Bluebell Guam Inc. owned four stores at the Mall which included Crabtree & Evelyn and Follie Follie a joint-venture partner.

Bluebell began operations in Guam in 1972.

Its Crabtree & Evelyn outlet at Micronesia Mall closed in October 2001. Bluebell Guam announced in April 2002 that it would close doors in July or August "depending on merchandise sales " and would let go 25 to 30 employees on Guam. Operations at that time included two Guess stores one at the Plaza shopping center and one at the Acanta Mall and a Moschino store in the Tumon Sands Hotel [now the Tumon Sands Plaza]. The company also wholesaled Tag Heuer and Guess watches.

Bluebell has operations in Hong Kong mainland China Taiwan Korea Japan and Singapore.

Ronan told the Journal that he had not yet made a decision on what he would do but already received offers of employment. MBJ