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Published: Tuesday, 5/6/2008

Woodville Mall owners change listing agent

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The retail center on Woodville Road was acquired in 2004 by two California investors and was put up for sale last year. The retail center on Woodville Road was acquired in 2004 by two California investors and was put up for sale last year.
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Woodville Mall in Northwood has a new agent attempting to sell the aging property, but little else has changed from a year ago when its owners decided to unload it.

Having bought the struggling mall in 2004 for $2.5 million, Californians Jack Kashani and Sammy Kahen put it up for sale and hired Mark Luttner, of NAI Daus, of Cleveland, to find a buyer.

A spokesman for Mr. Luttner said he is no longer the listing agent. The latest commercial agent to acquire the listing is Erin Wiles-Patton, of the commercial real estate firm Marcus & Millichap, of Encino, Calif.

The 794,000-square-foot mall, built in 1969 on Woodville Road, is listed at $3.5 million.

In its prospectus, Marcus & Millichap state the income for households surrounding the mall at $64,000 and say that 70,000 residents live within five miles of the property. The mall is anchored by The Andersons, Elder-Beerman, and Sears, but the latter own their sites and would not officially be part of the purchase.

Looks can be deceiving, said Germano Bressan, a retail expert at the Toledo office of Signature Associates Inc.: "Anybody from another city would look at that and they would think this is a great buy. But anyone around here would know better."

The mall remains about 40 percent vacant, and few shoppers visit the remaining stores.

Kroger is looking to move back to Great Eastern Shopping Center, a couple of miles west, and Menards has a new store nearby, both of which are putting pressure on The Andersons store, Mr. Bressan said.

Pat Bacon, Northwood city administrator, said that to her knowledge the mall has attracted no serious buyers. A company called her more than two weeks ago asking about the mall, saying it buys centers in disrepair and redevelops them, she said.

Mr. Kashani did not return calls seeking comment.

Shortly after buying the mall, Mr. Kashani and Mr. Kahen hired Krone Group LLC, of Cleveland to find tenants and redesign and manage the mall. Krone devised a three-to-five-year redevelopment plan, but after construction of a road to the north to provide greater access for Oregon residents, redevelopment plans were dropped.

In April, 2007, the for-sale sign went up.

Pete Shawaker, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis/Reichle Klein commercial real estate firm in Toledo, said Woodville Road is one of the few major retail corridors that hasn't had a revival.

Someone with a creative enough plan could turn the center around, he said, adding that results at apparel retailer Steve & Barry's store nearby mean success is possible.

"I really don't think it will go the route of North Towne Square, and I think it will continue to fare better than Southwyck did," Mr. Shawaker said.

"The question is: Does it get revived or does it just stay the way it is for years and years? I honestly don't think it's going to get any worse."

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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