Local investors acquire Great Mall of the Great Plains

January 5, 2009

The Great Mall of the Great Plains has new local owners who plan to rename and revitalize the long-struggling Olathe center. The deal to buy the mall at Interstate 35 and 151st Street from Glimcher Realty Trust was completed Monday for an undisclosed price in the "multi-millions," according to the new owners, Great Olathe Center.

The Great Mall of the Great Plains was sold on January 5, 2009 to Great Olathe Center, LLC, a group of local real estate investors who have a vision of future greatness and stability for the one million square foot retail mall located at the crossroads of I-35, 169 Highway, and 151st Street in Olathe, Kansas, a south suburb of Kansas City.

Block & Company, Inc., Realtors has taken immediate control of retail leasing, development, and property management of the Mall, and David M. Block, a principal with Block & Company, is the managing partner for the new owner. Block & Company was the real estate broker representing the sale.

The closed transaction boasted a purchase price in the "multi-millions" with an original building cost of $137 million in 1997. The previous owner, Glimcher Realty Trust, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is a real estate investment trust specializing in development of regional malls and shopping centers.

Short term plans are slated to drive up traffic flow and customer visits by working with numerous local and regional restaurants and retailers who can locate on the "ground level of the future repositioning of the mall by capitalizing on short-term leases with exceptionally reasonable lease rates." The long term plan by the owners looks to 2012 for national restaurant, retail, and entertainment chains to open and cement this Olathe iconŐs permanent repositioning. The existing structure sits on 100 acres including 22 acres of vacant ground available for development surrounding the mall.

"We are initially looking for those people with dreams of owning a restaurant or retail business. These people have the immediate opportunity to locate in a premiere Johnson County location," said David M. Block. "It's not our decision to decide the viability of a retailer. We let the market and the community decide the success or failure of these new businesses."

These plans will be phased to minimize disruption of present customers and tenants during shopping hours; however, the result of a state-of-the-art shopping experience will be the primary objective. The new owners are researching how to change the numerous entrances as well as the interior decor. Changes should be physically visible by later this year. Plans for a new mall name along with highway signage for identification are also in the works.

"This extensive re-tenanting and repositioning will create a completely different atmosphere and retail shopping experience for the Mall bringing a center that will sustain throughout the 21st century. There will be new amenities not only for the tenants, but for the millions of customers who visit the mall," said David M. Block. "The end result will be for this mall to be one of Kansas City's premiere shopping districts.
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