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DENTON, TX-Feldman Mall Properties Inc., with early April penciled for the closing, is planning to spend $10 million to $20 million to reposition the vintage Golden Triangle Mall as soon as the $40-million, off-market deal with Simon Property Group crosses the finish line.

“The plans are still very preliminary at this point,” CEO Larry Feldman says. But, he tells GlobeSt.com that the parking ratio presents development options to add to the upside formula for mixed-use space at the 2201 S. Interstate 35E property. He says the retooling plan will be patterned after the Colonie Center in Albany, NY, a 1.3-million-sf project retrofitted with entertainment venues and new retail choices for its region.

Feldman is buying 265,000 sf of the 765,000-sf mall, built in 1980 on 62.4 acres. The “fortress” look of its era will be replaced. “Our MO now is to open malls up to the outside and put at the front a series of high-end users,” he explains. Tenant additions like the Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang’s, Lowe’s Cineplex and bookstores have worked for other mall makeovers by the New York City-based owner so the plan is to apply the same strategies to secure comparable retail types for the existing Denton mix. “We call it Wal-Mart-proofing a mall,” he says, citing the goal is “to get an overall experience that you can’t get in a Wal-Mart.”

Feldman’s plan is to be ready to dig into the project when the Indianapolis-based Simon hands over the deed. He estimates it will be the end of 2007 before construction is complete.

Feldman says the deed came with a typical lease scenario: five-year average terms for shop space with a 20% annual roll-over. Lloyd Miller in Feldman’s corporate office will oversee leasing and management.

As the industry knows, the Golden Triangle Mall deed is Feldman’s first in Texas. “Simon was going to go to market and we pre-empted the process,” he says. And though the holding’s a prime candidate for a Feldman JV, he says it’s too early in the game to say if a partnership stake will be put before its pool of players like the New Hyde Park, NY-based Kimco Realty Corp., which is picking up a percentage of his Foothills Mall in Tucson.

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