Saginaw Township, Michigan — If investors win an online auction to buy the Fashion Square mall, the public may not know the fate of the indoor shopping center until late September.
Online auctions for properties based in Saginaw Township remain open for business and will begin at noon on Monday, August 22, according to officials managing the event.
The auction is expected to close on Wednesday, Aug. 24, but an official representing the mall’s current owner said the final transaction could be completed in up to 30 days. Auction winners must sign a sales contract by Thursday, August 25th. The legal transactions required to finalize such a transaction must be completed by Friday, September 23rd.
Investors interested in participating in auction bidding must provide at least $2.3 million.
Mall owner Wells Fargo will continue to operate the shopping center if the auction ends without a qualifying bid or if the auction winner fails to close the sale, officials said.
Southfield-based real estate firm NAI Farbman, along with Irvine, California-based real estate firm Ten-X, will serve as one of the online auction managers.
The mall’s former owner, New York-based Great Neck’s Namdar Realty Group, defaulted on a $34.8 million mortgage owed to Wells Fargo in 2020.
Last year, NAI Ferbman officials said the company plans to put the property up for auction in 2022 on behalf of Wells Fargo. Auction day is approaching.
If an investor were to acquire the shopping center at an initial auction bid of $2.3 million, it would be significantly cheaper than previous acquisitions of Fashion Square mall.
In January 2001, Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Property Inc. sold the complex, along with 20 other regional malls and two shopping centers, to the mall’s original developer, Cleveland-based Richard E. Purchased from Jacobs Group Inc. for $1.2 billion.
The mall was sold again to Namdar Realty Group along with The Lakes in Muskegon in July 2016. The total is his $66.5 million, which includes underwriting his $38.2 million loan guaranteed by Fashion Square Mall.
Not all of the 529,944 sq ft mall is available in this sale.
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 is still for sale.
Fashion Square Mall opened on October 4, 1972, and shoppers were the first to walk through the doors of the facility, which was built on 71 acres of farmland.
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 mall boom that helped define American culture in the 1970s and 80s. In turn, the shopping center fed the starving commercial district of Saginaw Township, attracting 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.
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