Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles, one of the few remaining family-owned malls, will probably not have that status much longer.
CBRE, a real estate brokerage firm, has listed the mall as for sale on its website. CBRE also made the announcement at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference May 19-23, said Ross Klicker, economic development coordinator for the village of Niles. The listing does not contain an asking price.
The mall functions as a huge economic engine for the village, helping to make it one of the top municipalities for retail sales in Illinois. Consequently, the village hopes to smooth the transition to a buyer, which would most likely be a large real estate investment firm.
"We're going to work with any potential buyers to ensure the needs of the village are met by whoever owns the mall," Klicker said.
No way to know how long sale will take
Asked how long purchases of malls usually take, Klicker said that he could have given an estimate before the recession and the consequent decline in real estate prices. In the current conditions, though, there's no telling.
The last nearby mall to be purchased was Randhurst in Mount Prospect, he said, but that was before the recession.
"And if you think it's difficult to get financing for a house, just imagine what it would be for a mall," he said.
With conditions so up in the air, it's also difficult to guess what changes or improvements a new buyer might make to the mall.
Family ownership has remained behind-the-scenes
The Cuneo family, which is associated with the Cuneo mansion in Libertyville, currently owns Golf Mill, but has been extremely behind-the-scenes. Last year, when mall representatives appeared before the Niles village board to ask them to create business district status for the mall, one trustee asked who the owner of the mall was.
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At that time, the mall was asking the village to create business district status and collect a 0.25% increase in sales tax on purchases at the mall, to be funneled into infrastructure improvements at the mall. Several trustees voiced the opinion that the owners had not properly maintained the mall, and addressed flooding issues, over the decades, and the board turned down the mall's request for the business district and sales tax hike.
Calls to CBRE, the real estate brokerage firm. were not immediately returned.