SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI — Fashion Square Mall will join a family of shopping centers owned by a New York investment group, including the Midland Mall, officials said.
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In August’s online auction, the indoor shopping center was bought by Kohan Retail Investment Group in Great Neck, New York. The purchase price was $10.8 million. Because the sale was pending additional paperwork, the buyer’s identity was not revealed at the time.
However, the deal was completed on Thursday, Sept. 22. An official representing the auction identified Kohan Retail Investment Group to be the new owner. The mall remained open throughout this process.
The sale was completed less than two weeks before the 50-year anniversary of the mall’s opening.
Officials from the new ownership group did no immediate return messages to The Saginaw News/MLive.
The company’s websiteHistory of shopping center investments.
The website didn’t include Fashion Square Mall. It revealed that the group owned 61 retail outlets, including six malls located in Michigan: Adrian Mall. Birchwood MallFort Gratiot The Crossroads MallPortage Lansing Mall, Midland MallLarkin Township, The Westwood MallMarquette
While other Michigan sites are still open, Adrian Mall was closed in June 2020 due to structural issues. reported Lenconnect.com, part the USA Today network.
Kohan Retail Investment Group’s purchase of The Midland Mall followed a similar pattern to its acquisition of Fashion Square Mall. Both cases saw the property being foreclosed by the previous owners.
Kohan Retail Investment Group bought The Midland Mall in June 2018 for $9.4million. Then, they announced plans to keep the property an indoor mall.
The company’s website indicated the investment group went on a shopping center buying spree of sorts recently, including purchasing 13 new shopping centers between June and November 2021.
Saginaw County officials and business leaders indicated that they have yet spoken to representatives of Kohan Retail Investment Group but were optimistic after hearing about the new owners.
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“We anticipate we will make contact with them pretty quickly,”Brian Rombalski, Saginaw Township Manager, said.
“We’re optimistic about what’s going to come for the future of the mall. It’s one of those things where, you take a deep breath, welcome the new group into the area, and see what kind of stuff they want to do and then form a relationship with them.”
The sale comes at a time when regional leaders have expressed hope for a resurgence of commerce along the mall’s business district, which borders Kochville Township.
JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future Inc., said she spoke with Rombalski about working with the mall’s new owners to set up the company for success.
“Our goal is to try to get a meeting with the new owners so that we can learn their plans for the future and ways that we can potentially assist them,”Crary stated. “There may be some incentive tools that we could explore if it makes sense to the community. We’re very interested because (Fashion Square Mall) needs to be a viable location.”
After engaging in an online bidding war with another investor, Kohan Retail Investment Group won dramatic victory at the auction on Aug. 24, 2010.
The mall was available for purchase in part because its previous owner — Namdar Realty Group — in 2020 defaulted on $34.8 million in mortgage debt owed to Wells Fargo. The property was then purchased by the lending giant Namdar Realty Group last year in a foreclosure auction. It was expected to be sold in the August online sale.
Officials of both Namdar Realty Group (New York) and Kohan Retail Investment Group (New York) list their headquarters in Great Neck.
Kohan Retail Investment Group is now the fourth owner of Fashion Square Mall, after Wells Fargo.
The facility opened its doors for the first time on October 4, 1972. It was located on 71 acres of farmland near northern Saginaw Township.
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 overflowing with customers during America’s mall boom of the 1970s. ‘80s. In turn, the shopping center fed a hungry commercial district, 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.
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.
In August’s auction, not all of the 529944-square foot mall was sold.
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 northern corner, 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. That property remains up for sale.
Saginaw’s Fashion Square Mall up for auction
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