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EUGENE, OR-Retailer Gottschalks Inc. of Fresno, CA, has agreed to take over a Macy’s store lease in the Valley River Mall here from Federated Department Stores. The 124,000-sf, two-level space will re-open as a Gottschalks this fall.

Gottschalks is a regional department store chain operating 63 department stores in the Western US but owns only a handful of its locations. Company president Jim Famalette says his company has been active in the divested stores sales process ever since the Federated/May merger was announced.

“The Valley River Mall is the top shopping destination in the Eugene marketplace and it further strengthens our presence in Oregon,” he says. “We are also continuing to review other potential opportunities for store growth in California as part of our expansion plans.”

Macerich Co. acquired Valley River Mall two months ago for $187.5 million. The 916,000-sf super-regional mall has been anchored by Meier & Frank, Macy’s and JC Penney. The mall includes 254,000 sf of mall shop space. Regal Cinema is planning to develop a 15-screen stadium style theater complex on the property. Annual 2005 tenant sales per sf were approximately $420.

Gottschalks officials say they plan to occupy the space mid-year, but it will take until “early fall” to prepare the store for opening. The length of the assumed lease term and the negotiated lease rate were not disclosed. Gottschalks CFO Greg Ambro has not yet returned a Tuesday afternoon phone call seeking comment. Most of the Company’s department store leases expire in various years through 2025, and have renewal options for one or more periods ranging from five to 20 years.

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