A Minnesota-based company has a contract to buy the Macon Mall out of foreclosure from the lender, and the buyer plans to decrease the size of the retail space by about 35 percent.
Continental Property Group, based in Wayzata, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis, plans to purchase the 1.4 million-square-foot mall, said Continental Property owner Brad Hoyt.
“We will be investing substantial capital and will directly engage all existing, former and prospective tenants to learn what has worked in the past, what is not working today and what will work in the future,” Hoyt said in an e-mail to The Telegraph. “We intend to collaborate with the city to re-energize the area and reverse the present trends.”
The purchase price was not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close in March.
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“We believe the mall should be a meeting point for civic events and functions and will promote that use,” Hoyt said. “We will pursue entertainment and dining prospects including a multi-screen theater and gaming facility.”
Continental plans to scale back the mall’s retail space, Hoyt said in Finance & Commerce, a Minnesota business newspaper.
The company plans to “mothball” about 500,000 square feet of the mall’s retail space, Hoyt said in the article.
“The plan is to downsize the retail portion of the property and consider alternative uses for the former anchors,” Hoyt said. “We believe that the mall can thrive at a million square feet, its original size. We think we’ve got a good plan and we think it’s a great opportunity.”
A news release sent out Wednesday afternoon saying the deal was completed was premature because the documents have not been fully executed, Hoyt said.
Mall officials declined to discuss the matter.
“We can confirm that the Macon Mall is open for business as usual and there will not be any disruption to either our shoppers or our tenants,” said Mall Manager Brian Olivi. “The mall is an important part to the community and we welcome all shoppers to the mall. We cannot make any further comments at this time.”
Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc. has managed the mall since July 2008 when it was appointed as receiver by the court.
Macon Mall LLC and Burlington Mall LLC in North Carolina were used as collateral for a $141.2 million loan and foreclosure proceedings began in 2008 because of nonpayment. However, the auction in November to sell the Macon Mall was postponed and the lender continued to own the property.
The economy has taken a toll on retailers and therefore, on most malls.
The mall was built in mid-1970s. After a major renovation in the late 1990s, the mall had six anchor tenants: Belk, Sears, Dillard’s, JC Penney, Macy’s and Parisian.
In 2006, the Parisian store chain was bought by Belk Inc., and a year later the 104,000-square-foot Parisian store closed.
In October 2008, Dillard’s department store announced it would close by the end of that year. A new Dillard’s opened at The Shoppes at River Crossing in north Bibb County at the same time.
To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.