Tuesday, June 06, 2000

Northgate Mall sold for $80M

By Lisa Biank Fasig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Northgate Mall, the retail center popular among area west-siders, ended its yearlong search for a buyer Monday and was sold to the owner of one of Louisville's leading malls for an estimated $80 million.

        David Hocker & Associates of Owensboro, Ky., acquired the mall from Eastrich Northgate LLC, based in Boston. Eastrich had been improving the mall for years and sought to capitalize on recent tenant and operating improvements.

        It is the first Ohio property for Hocker & Associates, which runs Oxmoor Centre in Louisville.

        “We feel that it is an extremely strong regional mall,” said D. Talmadge Hocker, president of Hocker & Associates. “In the last three years, they really upgraded their merchandise mix tremendously, and we think we can further enhance that. It's well-positioned to be the top one or two in the market.”

        Mr. Hocker said there are no plans to change the mall, and its manager, Jerry Weller, has been hired.

        In the past three years, attention has been on improving occupancy and operating income at the mall. AEW Capital Management, a New England-based real estate investment adviser, was hired in 1996 to do that.

        “We felt like we've done a good job in turning the mall around,” said Martha Thurber, AEW spokeswoman. “We felt we could make a good profit.”

        Mr. Weller said the 1.1 million-square-foot mall houses 120 permanent and 12 to 14 temporary tenants. Its occupancy rate, at 91.2 percent, is above the national average of roughly 85 percent.

        Several new tenants, including American Eagle Outfitters, the Disney Store, and Children's Place, have been added.


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