An investment group headed by North American Development Group closed on a $14.5 million deal for the Seminole Mall on Oct. 25.
SEMINOLE – The sale of the Seminole Mall closed Oct. 25 and a deed transfer from Downtown Seminole LLC to a group called Seminole Mall LP was filed with the Pinellas County Clerk of the Court.
The sale price was $14.5 million, according to Roger Edelman, president of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, who has been in the loop on the transaction for weeks.
The primary company in the ownership group is North American Development Group, which has offices in Canada and the United States.
According to the company’s website, it has acquired 27 retail properties across the United States over the past two years, making up over 3 million square feet of existing space or space to be developed.
“This is exciting,” said City Councilor Thomas Barnhorn. “I’m really pumped for it. It’s the changing of an era.”
City Councilor Jim Quinn agreed.
“This is great news for the city,” said Quinn. “I’ve always felt the Seminole Mall is the hub of the city. It’s a very vibrant spot and I can’t wait to see what kind of plans they come up with.”
Councilor Leslie Waters echoed their remarks.
“I look forward to the Seminole Mall once again being the ‘downtown’ destination and a gathering place for our residents, and for people throughout the area, for our business, shopping and entertainment enjoyment,” she said.
“I’m happy about it,” said Councilor Bob Matthews. “If they build a new building, people will come.”
“I think this is an incredibly good thing for the city,” said Edelman. “We have a huge development under way at Bay Pines and now this. The whole look of Seminole is going to change a lot. This will produce jobs and additional tax revenue for the city as well.”
NADG has its U.S. headquarters in West Palm Beach with regional offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas and Nashville.
Among its Florida portfolio, the company has 11 existing centers, three under development and one future site.
Among the 11 existing properties is the 798,000-square-foot Mall of the Americas in Miami and the 236,700-square-foot Lakewood Shopping Centre in Broward County.
More locally, it is redeveloping the 125,000-square-foot Valrico Commons shopping center in eastern Hillsborough.
Its list of retail partnerships includes Best Buy, Lowe’s, Tim Horton’s, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, IKEA, Michael’s, Costco Wholesale, Staples, Home Depot, Publix and CVS Pharmacy.
The big question is what’s next for the property. Will it be redeveloped? Will it become an indoor mall again? Will it become an outdoor mall like the Largo Mall? Or will it become a mixed-use project with retail and residential components?
“The current zoning does permit mixed use,” said City Manager Frank Edmunds. “We’re just waiting to see what they’re interested in doing. It will take some time if they do plan to redevelop the property.”
Matthews said he envisions something similar to the Largo Mall.
“The mall (as it is now) is pretty much used up,” he said. “They’re going to have start from scratch. Something new will work because people will go to a new look.”
Matthews said the city would cooperate and encourage whatever is proposed as long as it’s within the current zoning.
“Whatever it is, it will probably be three years before it’s up and running,” he said.
Barnhorn said he believes it will not be an enclosed mall.
“I think it’s going to be an exterior mall,” he said, “with access to new kinds of stores and it opens avenues for restaurants.”
The 425,292-squre-foot mall, located at Park Boulevard and 113th Street, was built in 1964 and renovated in 1990.
Seminole Mall Acquisitions LLC purchased the mall in 2002 for $20.7 million. It was sold to Downtown Seminole LLC in late 2006 for $35.7 million, despite an assessed value of slightly over $21 million.
When the economy began to sour in 2007, Downtown Seminole got behind in making scheduled payments to its creditors.
In February 2011, a bank holding company legally known as JPMCC 2005 CIBC13 Seminole Retail LLC filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Downtown Seminole.