NorthPark and SouthPark, the two Quad City malls, are on the market. The news that mall owner Macerich is selling came as a surprise to city officials Tuesday. They insisted, though, that plans to revamp SouthPark Mall are still on course, regardless of who the owner is.
The SouthPark Mall Task Force — a group of Quad City Chamber representatives and city staffers working to redevelop the mall — welcomed Tuesday’s news that the mall was among 17 other Macerich properties for sale since December.
“In the real estate business, just about any piece of property or any building is usually always for sale for the right price. What it means to me is that SouthPark Mall’s owner is pursuing all its options, which is good. That means that the mall has life, and they’re trying to see what its potential is,” said Paul Rumler, Executive Vice President of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.
The news, though, did come as a surprise to city leaders.
“I didn’t read anything about it until this morning, so I haven’t had a chance to talk to Macerich directly yet,” said Moline city administrator Lew Steinbrecher.
Steinbrecher also insisted he plans to move forward as though nothing has changed. Plans for the potential $30 to $40 million redevelopment of SouthPark Mall and the possible creation of a TIF district to aid that redevelopment are still on the table.
“Regardless, if the property is for sale or not, we are proceeding forward as if that relationship is still as solid as we believe it is,” said Steinbrecher.
Rumler also pointed out that Macerich has continued to meet with the Task Force for redevelopment talks since listing the properties in December, including on a recent trip to Des Moines to visit another Macerich mall.
“This isn’t the first time the malls have been for sale. The difference is that while the mall might be for sale this time, the current owner is continuing to invest in its property and its asset,” said Rumler.
Since December, Rumler said Macerich has updated fixtures in both malls, made facade investments, and knocked down several empty restaurants around NorthPark. These positive signs led Rumler to reconfirm the group’s commitment with Macerich representatives Tuesday.
Both Steinbrecher and Rumler said they still expect to see a final redevelopment plan for SouthPark in the next couple of months.