KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Vernon Park Mall officially has a new owner.

The online auction for the mall ended last week with the highest bidder paying $2.7 million. Kinston Mayor Don Hardy said the mall was fully functional and thriving about 15 years ago. Now, community members say it looks like a ghost town with only a Belk open.

Hardy now hopes this new buyer will keep the community’s needs in mind when remodeling the space.

“My wish and hope is to be able to work with retail and entertainment to that particular location,” Hardy said. “My hope is to have a conversation with the buyer about what his plan will entail. Hopefully, we’ll be able to communicate and say ok this is what is needed most in our city.”

The property was only up for auction two days last week.