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BOSTON-The new owner of two suburban malls has retained Jones Lang LaSalle as managing agent. After earlier this month paying $181 million for the centers, Walton Street Capital LLC tabbed JLL for properties encompassing 1.4 million sf, including one of the top retailing destinations in central Massachusetts, the Mall at Whitney Field in Leominster.

“We have had a dedicated staff assigned to both the Mall at Whitney Field and the Hanover Mall since 2003,” JLL Retail President Greg Maloney noted in announcing the designation. “We are very pleased that Walton Street Capital recognizes our efforts at both properties, and has confidence in our ability to move forward on these high-profile assignments.”

JLL assisted seller Gregory Greenfield & Associates in revitalizing the malls after the Atlanta-based investor bought them separately in 2003. It bought the Hanover asset in Hanover from TA Realty Associates for $67 million and the Leominster entry from Kimco Realty Corp. for $64.5 million.

The dual windfall would suggest a successful turnaround for GG&A, which had to overcome two aging, tired retail plazas and a difficult Massachusetts economy. The Mall at Whitney Field is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the wake of its 2004 makeover. The Hanover Mall dates back to the early 1970s. GG&A incorporated modern child play areas at both properties, with the Hanover plaza offering a sports-themed motif.

Located at Routes 3 and 53 about 25 miles south of Boston, the Hanover Mall serves one of the region’s most populated sectors. Tenants in the 706,000-sf complex include Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, JCPenney, Macy’s, Panera Bread and Trader Joe’s.

The Mall at Whitney Field has a prime presence at Route 2 and Interstate 190, and is also the only regional mall within a 20-mile radius. Known informally as Searstown, the complex still features that legendary retailer, as well as Circuit City, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Gap, Macy’s, Old Navy and JCPenney. JLL General Manager Ed Callahan oversees the Hanover Mall, while colleague Liz Kelley has that post in Leominster.

Based in Chicago, Walton Street Capital is a private firm that has invested or committed approximately $3.3 billion of equity since its founding in 1995. In New England, the firm had previously concentrated on the Boston office market, acquiring such properties as 99 High St., One Boston Place and 10 Post Office Square before harvesting each for substantial gains.

The most recent retail acquisitions were made on behalf of the Walton Street Real Estate Fund V, a vehicle that closed last year with $1.6 billion in equity commitments, including $51 million from Walton Street principals. Retail is among several product types being targeted.

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