Saginaw Township, Michigan — The Fashion Square mall joins a family of shopping centers owned by a New York investment group that includes the Midland Mall, officials said.
Cohan Retail Investment Group, based in Great Neck, New York, purchased the indoor shopping center for $10.8 million at an online auction in August. The identity of the buyer was not disclosed at the time, as the sale was pending additional paperwork.
However, the deal closed on Thursday, Sept. 22, and officials representing the auction revealed that Kohan Retail Investment Group is the new owner.
The sale was completed two weeks before the mall’s 50th anniversary.
Officials from the new owner group did not immediately return a message from The Saginaw News/MLive.
The company’s website revealed a history of investments in shopping centers.
Excluding the Fashion Square mall, the website showed the group owns 61 retail centers, including six malls in Michigan: Adrian Mall, Birchwood Mall in Fort Gratiot and Crossroads in Portage. Mall, Lansing Mall, Midland Mall in Larkin Township, Westwood Mallmarkt.
Other Michigan sites remain open, but the Adrian Mall was slammed in June 2020 for structural issues, according to Lenconnect.com, part of the USA Today network.
The acquisition of The Midland Mall by Cohan Retail Investment Group followed a similar pattern to that of Fashion Square Mall. In both cases the previous owner lost the property through foreclosure.
Cohan Retail Investment Group purchased the Midland Mall for $9.4 million in June 2018 and has since announced plans to keep the facility as an indoor mall.
The investment group had recently made certain shopping center acquisitions, including the purchase of 13 new shopping centers between June and November 2021, according to the company’s website.
Saginaw County municipal and business leaders have not yet spoken with representatives of Cohan Retail Investment Group, but said they were optimistic to hear the news about the new owners.
“We hope to get in touch with them soon,” said Saginaw Township Manager Brian Lombarski.
“We are optimistic about what the future holds for the mall. is.”
The sale comes at a time when local leaders have expressed their desire for a revival of commerce along the mall’s business district adjacent to Kochville Township.
JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future Inc., said he spoke with Rombalski about working with the mall’s new owners to bring the company to success.
“Our goal is to meet with new owners to find out about their future plans and how we can potentially help them,” Crary said. “It makes sense for the community.” If so, there might be some incentive tools we could look into.(Fashion Square mall) is very interesting because it has to be a viable place.”
Kohan Retail Investment Group won the Aug. 24 auction in dramatic fashion after engaging in an online bidding war with a second investor (whose identity is unknown).
The mall was available for purchase after its previous owner, Namdar Realty Group, defaulted on a $34.8 million mortgage owed to Wells Fargo in 2020. The lending giant then acquired the property last year as part of a foreclosure auction and plans to sell it at his online auction in August.
Officials at Namdar Realty Group and Cohan Retail Investment Group said they are headquartered in Great Neck, New York, less than two miles from each other.
Cohan Retail Investment Group became the fourth owner to operate the Fashion Square mall, other than Wells Fargo.
The facility first opened on October 4, 1972, when shoppers first walked through the doors of the facility, which was built on 71 acres of farmland north of Saginaw Township.
At the time, anchor tenants JCPenney and Sears were the site’s main attractions. Other initial retailers include 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 thrived with customers during the shopping mall boom that helped define American culture in the 1970s and 80s. In turn, the shopping center fed the starving commercial district and attracted business growth on Bay Road and Tittabawassee Road in the early decades.
In 1993, a new food court was added to keep customers eating during long sessions of browsing the shops.
Eight years later, the facility underwent a $10 million renovation to give the body built in the 1970s a 21st-century glow.
However, foot traffic has declined in recent decades as a result of the region’s declining population and consumer buying habits shifting to online stores.
In January 2001, Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Property Inc. acquired 20 other regional malls and two shopping malls from Cleveland-based Richard E. Jacobs Group Inc., the mall’s original developer. We purchased this complex along with the Center for $1.2 billion.
The mall was sold again in July 2016 to Namdar Realty Group (along with The Lakes in Muskegon) for a total of $66.5 million, including the underwriting of a $38.2 million loan guaranteed by Fashion Square Mall.
Not all of the 529,944-square-foot mall sold at auction in August.
Most of the stores in the 100-unit mall are tenants, but Macy’s owns its own box there.
Sears also owned its own box at the northernmost end of the facility, but the store closed in 2019. TransformCo, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois – now Sears and formerly in the mall Owns a space in – hired Stokas Bieri Real Estate to sell an old Sears unit. The property remains for sale.
Saginaw’s Fashion Square mall to be auctioned
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