RICHMOND -- The woebegone Main Street Station, which opened only 26 months ago but never drummed up much business, will close by the end of the month, merchants at the shopping mall said.

The merchants in the downtown shopping mall said last week they had received notices to vacate by Jan. 31 from the president of Morton G. Thalhimer Inc., the real estate firm that has handled the mall's utilities and security since it was bought at a foreclosure auction in August. The merchants had been operating on month-to-month leases since September. First National Bank of Boston, which owns the mall, foreclosed on Main Street Station when its developers could not meet payments on an $8.6 million loan. The bank's bid of $7 million was the only one accepted at the foreclosure auction.

The bank said it intends to sell Main Street Station to another developer or developers, The Richmond News Leader reported.

The mall's office telephone has been disconnected temporarily, the newspaper reported. Neither bank officials nor H. Merill Plaisted, president of Morton G. Thalhimer, could be reached for comment.

The 150,000-square foot mall, in a turn-of-the-century building that had housed a passenger train station in Shockoe Bottom, opened in 1985.

Main Street Station has been beset by a scarcity of customers and tenants. Four merchants recently vacated and a fifth had said he would depart this month, the newspaper said.

About a dozen tenants, including four in Main Street Station's food court, stayed. The mall has space for about 55 tenants.