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Transition bumpy as Northland Mall changes hands

Four-person team leaves local management office

STERLING – The Northland Mall sale is final and a new ownership and management team officially took over Dec. 21.

Denver-based J. Herzog & Sons sold the mall to Namdar Realty Group, a privately owned commercial real estate investment and management firm. Namdar, based in Great Neck, New York, owns more than 15 million square feet of commercial real estate, much of it strip malls, medical and office buildings.

Namdar’s partner, Mason Asset Management, also based in Great Neck, will manage the mall.

According to several store employees at the mall, the early stages of the management transition have been anything but seamless.

The mall’s entire local management team, including General Manager Karyn Brouilette, have quit their jobs. Half of the maintenance staff also decided to leave, including the daytime manager.

Store managers at the mall said they hadn’t seen anyone from the new management group as of Wednesday afternoon, but they were told a representative was scheduled to be in town today.

Adding to the tension is a problem with the heat during the first extreme cold stretch of the winter. None of the stores have had a problem because each one controls its own heat, but shoppers won’t want to take off their coats in the shared walking areas. The problem was noticed when the mall was opened Monday morning and was still being addressed Wednesday.

The mall took a big hit in March, when the announcement came down that its J.C. Penney store was one of 138 on the retailer’s latest closure list.

Before the new owners took possession, Herzog, with the city’s approval, had put plans in place to subdivide the J.C. Penney space into three smaller sites, and add 20,000 square feet so the three future tenants would have access from the parking lot. The new strip center and mall would be fully integrated.

The new owner also has two outlots east of the former J.C. Penney area that can be developed. Another plus for ownership is that two key tenants are locked into long-term leases. Bergner’s is signed on with the mall through January 2022, while Planet Fitness has an 11-year lease.

Herzog has been exiting the challenging regional mall business. The firm also had been shopping its other remaining shopping center, the Crossroads Mall in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The Iowa mall also lost its J.C. Penney anchor this year, and it has many of the same tenants as the Sterling mall.

Northland Mall opened in 1973, and Crossroads Mall dates back to 1965.

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