Mall ownership changes hands

2012-12-11T07:00:00Z Mall ownership changes handsBy Steve Lathrop, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald
December 11, 2012 7:00 am  • 

Heritage Mall has been acquired by Vintage Real Estate of Los Angeles, which owns and operates numerous holdings across the country.

The 406,500-square-foot shopping center in Albany is the first investment or real property in Oregon for Vintage. It has several holdings in Washington.

In its announcement, Vintage also said that it has identified a replacement anchor store to fill the Gottschalks space, although it would not disclose the name of the store.

The mall, which had been for sale by previous owner James Long LaSalle, has 52 retailers and sits on 33 acres. According to Vintage chairman Fred Sands, it is a perfect investment for the company.

“It’s a well-maintained property that we have been looking at,” he said. “We’ve always liked it.”

Sands said Vintage originally considered the mall three years ago but pulled back after initial negotiations. When it became available again, the company was able to work a deal.

In addition to filling the Gottschalks spot, which has been open since 2009, Vintage is looking to add another anchor store. Sands said that the company is negotiating with several possible tenants.

“Our team understands people and communities,” Sands said. “We get out and talk to people and then give them what they want.”

Sands said he couldn’t reveal the names of potential new tenants but said his team is confident it can bring strong retailers to Albany.

“Discussions are already in progress for numerous additional national tenants that will generate significant new customer traffic and allow us to upgrade our tenant mix and increase occupancy,” said Roger Burghdorf, executive vice president of leasing for Vintage.  

The company also announced that Betsy Penson is the new general manager for the mall. Penson has worked extensively in shopping center marketing and management. Her experience includes stints at Streets of Tanasbourne in Hillsboro, Bridgeport Village near Lake Oswego and the Lancaster Mall in Salem, which she managed for four years. Most recently she was at Blackhawk Plaza in Danville, Calif.

Working with the community will be Charlie Christensen, executive vice president of asset management. He has worked in Oregon for three years at Bridgeport Village.

“We’ve always had wonderful relationships with our tenants and we look forward  to working with those in Albany,” Sands said. “We’re looking at positive changes.”

Vintage Real Estate primarily acquires underperforming regional malls, power centers and grocery-anchored sites.

The deal to acquire the Albany mall was a strictly cash transaction but Sands said confidentiality agreements wouldn’t allow him to reveal the price. He did say that the transaction was through a consortium of lenders and removed $38 million in debt from the property.

Steve Lathrop is the business reporter for the Albany Democrat-Herald. He can be reached at 541-812-6076 or by email at steve.lathrop@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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