Five Points Mall has a new owner, leases signed with all its national tenants and a new grocery store ready to open in mid-spring.
Hunter Whitten, executive vice president for real estate with Select Strategies, said he still could not disclose the name of the grocer planning to open a store in the former Lance’s New Market building.
Construction crews have been dividing the building into three spaces, with the grocer planning to occupy about 17,000-square-feet.
Ruler Foods, part of Kroger’s JayC division, has been advertising online for open positions in a Marion store for months. JayC Division representatives could not be reached for comment.
Whitten said his company was actively seeking new tenants to fill all or a part of the space occupied by Sears before it closed in January.
He said the landlord “worked diligently” to keep Sears in the mall, but the department store took another path.
“The Sears situation is very simple — they were on a lease and their lease had options in it. They simply decided not to exercise their options,” he said.
Sears Holding Corp. has been closing waves of stores in recent years. In late 2011, it listed 79 Sears and Kmart locations set to close and 62 more in the following year.
Whitten said even after the store closed, Sears could have taken an option to extend the lease to at least 2017, but it let the lease expire. This leaves the space open for a possible tenant.
Other national tenants have either renewed their lease or have some term left, Whitten said.
“In other words, there’s no month-to-month with national tenants,” he said.
In late 2012, ownership of the mall property transferred from the Royal Bank of Canada to Five Points Acquisition, LLC.
The bank had acquired the mall through foreclosure in 2010 and hired Select Strategies to market the property in order to find a viable buyer.
Whitten said Five Points Acquisition LLC is part of a New York-based, privately held group of individual investors that owns retail assets across the United States.
According to the deed at the Grant County Recorder’s Office, tax bills are being sent to a Staten Island, New York City address.
City Director of Development Darren Reese said he has not yet talked to the new owners, but was glad they decided to keep Select Strategies.
Last year, the Marion City Council approved up to $3 million in tax increment financing (TIF) to help fund renovations. It would cycle increased property tax revenue from the mall back into the property.
Reese said the TIF was passed for the Royal Bank of Canada, which would need to initiate it and assign it to the new owners. He said the “structure is in place” but some revisions may have to be made before the TIF is activated.