BUSINESS

SouthPark redevelopment plans move ahead despite sale rumors

2013-03-20T03:45:00Z 2013-03-20T05:09:11Z SouthPark redevelopment plans move ahead despite sale rumorsJennifer DeWitt and Doug Schorpp The Quad-City Times
March 20, 2013 3:45 am  • 

Plans for redeveloping SouthPark Mall in Moline continue to move forward with the owner, Macerich Corp., despite a report that the owner has put SouthPark and NorthPark malls up for sale. 

According to a news report by Reuters.com, the Moline and Davenport properties are among 17 non-core, or Class B, malls that Macerich has listed for sale.

Plans to sell the malls were announced by Macerich executives during the company’s fourth-quarter conference call. However, when contacted Tuesday by the Quad-City Times, Karen Maurer, senior manager, corporate communications for Macerich, would not confirm nor deny that the properties are for sale. In an emailed statement, she said “We are not able to comment on rumors in the marketplace.”

Moline City Administrator Lew Steinbrecher described the announcement as “unexpected,” given the progress the city has made in working with Macerich on redeveloping SouthPark.

The city and Macerich “have had a very positive relationship” since Macerich took full ownership of the mall in December 2011, he said. After reaching his Macerich contacts Tuesday, he added, “Macerich has confirmed they are still committed to renovating SouthPark in partnership with the city.’’

According to Reuters.com, Macerich has put more than $1 billion of its mall assets on the market and has received a significant amount of interest in the properties. Reuters reports that larger real estate investment trusts have been trying to sell off lower performing malls as the gap widens between malls with the highest sales per square foot and the others.

Fourteen of the malls are wholly owned by Macerich and average sales of about $321 per square foot, according to marketing documents obtained by Reuters. Most of the Macerich malls up for sale are more than 90 percent leased.

Paul Rumler, Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce’s executive vice president, who sits on the chamber’s SouthPark Mall Task Force, said he thinks the malls might have been put on the block “to see what interest there is in the market.”

“But we are continuing our conversations with Macerich,” he said, adding that several task force members traveled to Des Moines last month to meet with Macerich at its Southridge Mall property. “It’s going to be one of those projects like we’re talking about at SouthPark,” he said of the Des Moines property. It’s an older mall that needs a lot of investment.”

The task force, made up of city, chamber and business representatives, has been in discussions with Macerich since it became the sole owner of NorthPark and SouthPark. Macerich had co-owned the properties for nearly a decade in a 50/50 venture with Simon DeBartolo Group.

Rumler pointed out that the Quad-City malls have been on and off the market for a decade. “The difference this time ... from last time is past owners have stopped talking about investing in the property while the mall was for sale,” he added.

Rumler said there is no sign of talks stalling now. “We don’t look (at a potential sale) as a stop in the ongoing work we’ve started with the company.” Upgrades that Macerich has been making at both SouthPark and NorthPark show the owner sees the potential value of the properties, he added.

The chamber task force was formed 2 1/2 years ago to put a focus on what now is an aging, but major, retail property in the Quad-Cities, Rumler said.

Steinbrecher said the city tried for several years to work with Indianapolis-based Simon on a redevelopment plan but with little success.

The city has been pursuing the creation of a tax increment financing, or TIF, district, to assist Macerich in its planned renovation. The TIF district, which would include the 121-acre SouthPark Mall Redevelopment Project Area, was tabled in November by the city council due to a pending appeal by the mall owners of its property tax assessment.

The TIF district will return to the council for a vote in late April, Steinbrecher said. In addition, he expects Macerich to present conceptual schematics of the renovations to the task force before the end of June.

Located at two of the Quad-City area’s largest traffic thoroughfares — Interstate 74 and John Deere Road, Rumler said “It’s a declining asset, that is a real issue ... you look at that property and know it can be doing better.”

“It doesn’t matter who owns the property; we want to work with any ownership group in maximizing their return ... right now, Macerich is a willing partner,” Rumler said.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(17) Comments

  1. mollyheffernen
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    mollyheffernen - April 04, 2013 1:37 pm
    SouthPark Mall needs a bit of repairs, and maybe fresh stores. I would like to maybe see a Forever 21, Torrid, H & M, and maybe a nice food places near or around it. If it had stores that were newer to the Quad Cities/Iowa area I think it would do well again.

    I hope that whoever owns these malls makes wiser decisions to help them stay in business.That was a key mistake with Westdale. Westdale Mall which is supposed to be redeveloped. It has not started yet.
  2. JM1
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    JM1 - March 20, 2013 9:36 am
    Westdale in Cedar Rapids has already been sold and plans are in place for total redevelopment including park space, condos / apartments, shopping and restaurants. It will supposedly take design cues from the Streets at Southglen near Denver.
  3. Jeffrey Smith
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    Jeffrey Smith - March 20, 2013 7:41 am
    Klaatu, it's not as if you shop at the mall, you stated that below.

    Nice to know you spend your dollars in Iowa (Northpark) instead of Southpark. Thanks for supporting our community. Keep up your whining about the Illinois QC continually losing businesses and money - your attitude is the cause, and you fail to grasp this.
  4. Jeffrey Smith
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    Jeffrey Smith - March 20, 2013 7:38 am
    Unfortunately for you, Northpark is also for sales.

    Perhaps you should actually read the article - nothing to say that Northpark won't be shut down and be an outlet mall - oops - Davenport's horrendous track record with outlet malls wouldn't support yet another one.

    Wishful thinking on your part - no one will move to that part of Davenport - only the extreme east end, like Elmore Avenue.

    No more Bass for you.
  5. TruthOnlyBeTold
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    TruthOnlyBeTold - March 19, 2013 9:33 pm
    I think you have a good point. Shoppers tend to like new and fresh. Look what Coral Ridge Mall did to the Sycamore Mall and Old Capital Mall in Iowa City and West-Dale Mall in Cedar Rapids. It pretty much put all 3 into bankruptcy...in fact I think it did put all 3 into bankruptcy. So what made Coral Ridge so special? Other than the skating rink with the huge adjacent food court it is pretty much like any other mall to me except it was all new. So thirty years from now, will it be the same or will it be thought of as old and out of date. I think that is the challenge for malls if they want to stay in business....to maintain that new and fresh appearance.
  6. IRONHIDE
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    IRONHIDE - March 19, 2013 9:20 pm
    So, is it the quality of the stores or the condition of the decor that really draws people? Personally, if I must visit a mall, I prefer it to be dead so I can park close to the door and not fight the crowds. Unfortunately, a dead mall is not profitable. I kinda like the "outdatedness" of Southpark. A newer modern mall like Coralridge or Jordan Creek in W Des Moines are typically crowded and not enjoyable. Trying to navigate through Coralridge on a Saturday is a nightmare. I agree something needs to be done to spruce up Southpark. Maybe sell some outlots for restaurants and use up some of that vast wasted parking.
  7. TruthOnlyBeTold
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    TruthOnlyBeTold - March 19, 2013 9:04 pm
    Good idea. Maybe they would let Davenport Schools in on the deal since they are hurting for money as well. That way they could start up a vocational program for jobs in the casino industry. Blackjack Dealing-101, Advanced Detection of Card Sharks, Slot Machine Repair, Basic Bar-tendering, Drunk and Belligerence Control....it would be a win-win...the school system would get needed funding and some kids could train for their future.
  8. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - March 19, 2013 8:56 pm
    Good question. That and the other problems with malls in general contribute to their demise. These malls are old and ugly, and who wants to carry their stuff around anyway? Look at the size of the SP property, how big that parking lot is, and how empty it is. A monstrous waste of prime real estate.
  9. Shopgirl1975
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    Shopgirl1975 - March 19, 2013 8:52 pm
    Lets be honest. Both of these malls stink. There aren't many chain stores, or popular stores to bring in money. Northpark never should have let Abercrombie go. These malls can't compete in today's competitive retail market. People would rather drive and travel out of town to shop than to go to these malls. They both need a major overhaul and a lot more space added.
  10. IRONHIDE
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    IRONHIDE - March 19, 2013 8:42 pm
    For many, it doesn't seem to matter if the stores are worth going to or not, what matters is the decor has been updated with modern tile, carpet and finishes. If all the stores at Southpark remained the same, but were placed in a brand new mall, would you then start shopping there more frequently?
  11. hawkeye57
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    hawkeye57 - March 19, 2013 6:51 pm
    I've got an idea. Why doesn't he Davenport city council use their $46 million and buy the malls. Maybe they could install gambling casinos in each mall and rent out the rest of the place space to organizations like "Gamblers Anonymous". Might be able to make some money for the city.
  12. katara
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    katara - March 19, 2013 6:19 pm
    What to do about the scum bag traffic???
  13. surewhynot
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    surewhynot - March 19, 2013 5:13 pm
    Good call on the outlet mall!
  14. Jimmy Buffett
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    Jimmy Buffett - March 19, 2013 4:22 pm
    I wish I had that capital. I would TIF each property.use the increment (sales and property) to fund improvements. Move the stores that are worth moving over to Northpark. Tear the southpark mall down. make it a outlet mall, or a Bass Pro Shoppe, or discount mall. market it as a discount maybe marshall's payless shoes stuff like that. Then tear down the Northpark mall make it upscale mall. Keep vonmaur and make it two story outdoor mall... the problem is we dont get any respect.... we deserve jordan creek....
  15. senor citizen
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    senor citizen - March 19, 2013 3:36 pm
    I rather have my present two feet. They are two of the only things still working properly, they must be, they hurt.
  16. Wheezy
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    Wheezy - March 19, 2013 3:07 pm
    I suppose I could buy a couple of square feet.
  17. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - March 19, 2013 12:47 pm
    It's hard to see a future for those malls. They are a tired old remnant from the 70's.The parking lot at SP is a disgrace. I only go there to a specific store two or three stores and even then only a couple of times a year.
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