SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI — If an investor wins the online auction to buy Fashion Square Mall, the public may not learn about the indoor shopping center’s fate until late September.
The online auction for the Saginaw Township-based property — which remains open for business — will start at noon Monday, Aug. 22According to officials who managed the event, it was.
While the auction is scheduled to end Wednesday, Aug. 24, officials representing the mall’s current owners said the resulting transaction could close as much as 30 days later. The auction winner must sign an agreement for purchase and sale by Thursday, August 25. The legal transactions required for closing such a deal must be completed by Friday Sept. 23.
Investors interested to bid in the auction bidding process must offer a minimum of $2.3 million.
If the auction ends with no qualifying bids or the auction winner fails to close the sale, the mall’s owner — Wells Fargo — will continue to operate the shopping center, officials said.
Southfield-based real estate firm NAI Farbman will serve as one of the online auction’s managers, along with Ten-X, an Irvine, California-based real estate firm.
The mall’s previous owner — Great Neck, New York-based Namdar Realty Group — in 2020 defaulted on $34.8 million in mortgage debt owed to Wells Fargo, setting up the lending giant to grab the property last year as part of a foreclosure auction.
Last year, NAI Farbman officials stated that the company would put the property up for sale in 2022 for Wells Fargo. The auction date is fast approaching.
An investor can purchase the shopping center at an auction entry-level bid $2.3 million. This will be a significantly cheaper purchase than previous Fashion Square Mall acquisitions.
In January 2001, Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Property Inc. purchased the complex along with 20 other regional malls and two shopping centers from the mall’s original developer — Cleveland-based Richard E. Jacobs Group Inc. — for $1.2 billion.
The mall was sold again in July 2016 to Namdar Realty Group — along with The Lakes in Muskegon — for an aggregate price of $66.5 million, including the assumption of a $38.2 million loan secured by Fashion Square Mall.
The entire 529,944-square feet mall is not up for sale.
While most of the shops at the 100-unit mall are tenants, Macy’s owns its own box there.
Sears also had its own box in the northernmost corner of this facility, but the store closed down in 2019. Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Transformco — which now owns Sears and its former space in the mall — hired Stokas Bieri Real Estate to sell the old Sears unit. The property remains up for sale.
Fashion Square Mall was opened on October 4, 1972. It was built on 71 acres farmland.
At the time, anchor tenants JCPenney and Sears were the site’s main attractions. Other inaugural retailers included Town & Country Fashions, William C. Wiechmann Co., Bintz Sports, Carter Shop, Seitner’s, Alfano’s Stride Rite, and Tait’s Hobby Shop.
Fashion Square Mall was flooded with customers during the mall boom, which helped define American culture in 1970s. ‘80s. In turn, the shopping center fed a hungry commercial district in Saginaw Township, attracting business growth down Bay and Tittabawassee roads during those early decades.
In 1993, a new food court was added, keeping customers fed during long sessions spent browsing stores.
Eight years later, the facility underwent a $10 million facelift that applied a 21st century sheen to its 1970s-built body.
Foot traffic thinned in recent decades, though, both as a result of the region’A shrinking population and a shift in consumer buying habits towards online stores are two of the reasons why there is a decline in their numbers.
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