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Southbridge Mall is sold to out-of-state investor


This news story was published on September 26, 2016.
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Southbridge Mall

Southbridge Mall

MASON CITY – Southbridge Mall is sold, and not to a local group, NIT has confirmed.

An asset manager with a real estate outfit in Irving, Texas told NIT this afternoon that US Bank is no longer the owner of the beleaguered mall.  Furthermore, no local group or owner will be taking over.

“It’s an out-of-state entity, and I can’t say who,” NIT was told by Mike Ludden, the man who previously managed the “asset” for US Bank, with C-Iii Capital Partners LLC of Irving, Texas.  “It was just sold today.  The ink’s not even dry on the contract, yet.  It’s a company out of New York.  They bought three other Iowa malls already.”

Word has been spreading fast all day that the mall has been sold.  According to sources, mall manager TJ Just is out, as of today.  A call to Southbridge Mall Monday morning was answered by a secretary, who was going to put Mr. Just on the phone.

“May I ask who’s calling,” the woman said.

“Yea.  Matt Marquardt.”

She then said Mr. Just was too busy to take the call.  She snickered when asked if Mr. Just had been fired and the mall had been sold.

The afternoon phone call to Texas yielded a little more information.

NIT was told by Mr. Ludden that efforts were made to find a local buyer, “but no one could step up and do it.  We tried, but to no avail.  It never got off the ground.”

Philip Chodur

Philip Chodur

Questions to City Administrator Brent Trout were not immediately returned today.  NIT was told today by other sources out of city hall that Mr. Trout and Mayor Eric Bookmeyer went to see TJ Just last Thursday; their discussions are unknown, as are many details surrounding this downtown “Renaissance Project”.  Mr. Trout recently said at a city council meeting, when pressed for answers, that Bookmeyer had taken a keen interest in the mall and the alleged hotel development a block away from it that has been at least 3 years in the making.  No ground has been broken on that proposed Marriott hotel, yet, despite promises as far back as 2013 that a hotel was coming.  Bookmeyer has been working with Philip Chodur on the hotel deal for quite some time, which is closely aligned with the sale of the mall and its solvency to house an ice arena for the long term.  If Mr. Chodur fails to secure the proper financing to move ahead with his hotel, the city has indicated it has a “contingency plan” in place – but has never released detail on that plan.  According to a document forwarded to NIT, Mr. Chodur may have been struggling to get financing for his hotel as recently as May of this year:

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The city continues to sign over city-owned property to Mr. Chodur and continue on with the project with him, however, saying little to the public about the true status of the project.

This sale of Southbridge Mall could mean that the deal is ready to move ahead – or it could spell more trouble for the mayor and his plot for downtown Mason City.  Even as the state Iowa hands out millions of dollars to other cities for their developments, Mason City has been cut out, so far.  It asked for $10 million from the state for the 5-point Renaissance Project.

Mr. Just did take a phone call at 3:35 PM today. He confirmed that the mall is sold and that JLL Management company will no longer be managing the mall, and “I could not come to an agreement with the new company on staying on.” He would not comment on his meeting last week with Mr. Trout and Bookmeyer.

More to come on this developing situation.

UPDATE: Sale of Southbridge Mall was announced on September 26. The mall was purchased by Kohan Retail Investment Group from New York state. City Administrator Brent Trout has sent the draft lease agreements to Kohan so that negotiations can begin with the new owners. The sale of the mall was a major issue to be resolved prior to final approval of the city’s Reinvestment District application.

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28 Responses to Southbridge Mall is sold to out-of-state investor

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 29, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Pretty sure they could have sold it to a local for that bargain-basement price! Any locals who inquired were quoted a much higher price!

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 28, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Bowling alley, indoor trampoline park, indoor go kart track, A Twin Peaks restaurant, a Hooters. Anything would be better than a bunch of vacant stores and the rejects Subway.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 29, 2016 at 8:14 am

      All specialty things. For years everyone has said we have to have something for the young people to do. We already have that if they will just get off their asses and do it. Everytime someone has opened a youth center it has failed because the toughs take it over and the decent kids won’t go there. Clean up the city so it looks presentable. Quit putting everything in the downtown area. That just
      supports the elites and the Chamber of Commerce.

      • Rumor Control Reply Report comment

        September 29, 2016 at 9:09 am

        I don’t think anyone told the youth center they have failed. They are still in operation. Maybe you should check your facts before you post ignorant comments.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          September 29, 2016 at 9:46 am

          Speaking of failures, you should look in the mirror fool. The youth center has very few kids that go there.

  3. IowaBoy Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    A BOWLING ALLEY is a great idea for the mall. Since the RoseBowl is not reopening we could really use one and it could be privately owned, with some assistance for start-up, perhaps take the $250k back from Younkers. Great family fun downtown without spending many millions and risking more.

    • Wii Athlete Reply Report comment

      September 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      if you think a bowling alley is a “great idea” you should probably go open one and watch it go broke. If bowling alleys were money makers, there would be more of them. Also “family fun” places in a city where the median age is over 40 doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. That attitude has put us where we are today. “Let’s have something we can all do no matter age.” You probably don’t want to finger paint even though it’s “family fun”. Put things in this city that youth like to and can do. Put OTHER things in the city that 20 somethings like to do (and they will want to come live here and do them), and put things in that the older demographic like to do and they will stay. But please stop trying to please all the people all the time. It makes for a boring city. Forget family fun, have Fun thingS for the whole family.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 28, 2016 at 8:27 pm

        You make some good points I think a Dave and buster would go over good here

  4. Ralph Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Maybe they could turn the mall into a chicken slaughter house.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    The new owner, Mehran Kohansieh aka Mike Kohan is shady as hell.
    He buys distressed malls, milks them for whatever is left for all they are worth, doesn’t do any upkeep, cuts staff, then bails out.

    http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2014/feb/01/new-mall-owners-record-troubling/?print

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-01-23/news/os-lk-buyer-lake-square-mall-20140123_1_mall-operator-macerich-lake-square-mall-mike-kohan

    http://www.galesburg.com/article/20160604/NEWS/160609890

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Put a Hooters in!

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    The company who brought the mall is bad news the kohen retail investment group great neck new York they own many more malls across the us and a lot of them are in such bad shape some even had to be torn down because they not keep up mold is out of control and the roof leaks plus their sprinkler system is not up to code

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 7:01 am

    The state will kill the deal. No way they will invest in a New York financial company. That would just be throwing tax money away.

  9. Peter L Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Still think global corporate capitalism is a good idea? Now you have people in New York setting the agenda for your community. Wake the F up out of the big money delusion. Brand labels does not a good community make.

  10. mint Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 5:57 am

    A enclosed botanical center and a vending park for spring, summer & fall, in the winter a public ice skating rink.

    • mint Reply Report comment

      September 27, 2016 at 6:01 am

      Edit – Bulldoze ugly brick building, build an enclosed botanical center and a vending park for the spring, summer & fall, in the winter a public ice skating rink.

  11. My real name Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2016 at 2:47 am

    Mason City is lacking family activities. Put some amenities in the mall like a bowling alley, trampoline court, Dave and Busters, and get a few mores stores, even outlet stores. The mall is there, hopefully the new owners will do something good with it.

  12. Dick Neely Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Maybe the new owners will bulldoze it and build a dog park. One with some nice bike trails going through it.

  13. N.E.MCMAN Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    ….out of town landlord for the mall…

    Hope we have better luck with that than the out of town landlords with rental houses.

  14. Bodacious Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Maybe the mayor is so interested in the mall (…Bookmeyer had taken a keen interest in the mall and the alleged hotel development a block away from it that has been at least 3 years in the making.} because he knows he is going to need a job in the future and bell hop sounds kind of cool especially if they get to wear one of those little hats.

  15. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Getting rid of Just is the best thing that’s happened to the mall in years.

  16. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    You know, over the years we have had some good Mayors and some not so good, but we have never had one as bad as this ass-clown Eric Bookmeyer.
    He is a walking, talking clusterf&*K.

    And this Chodur character is about as shady as they come.
    Sure would like to know what is really going on with this wreck of a deal.

    • anonymight Reply Report comment

      September 27, 2016 at 11:36 am

      You are either Max Weaver himself or one of his ardent minions. Bookmeyer is one of the better mayors this city has seen. None have worked harder to make something of this town.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 27, 2016 at 12:37 pm

        You must be smoking that funny shit.