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OLATHE, KS-After trying for 12 years, Glimcher Realty Trust has sold its failing Great Mall of the Great Plains here for $20.5 million. The company developed the 783,000-square-foot mall in a venture with the Jordan Robert Perlmutter & Co. in 1997 with 150 stores. A venture of six investors, including David M. Block of nearby Kansas City, MO-based Block & Co. Realtors, this week bought the property that now has 80 stores and is about to lose another anchor.

The mall at the intersection of Interstate 35 and 151st Street started out with anchors that included Oshman’s, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshall’s, Jeeper’s, Dillard’s, Steve & Barry’s, a 16-screen Dickinson Theatres and Linen’s ‘n Things. After many closures, Burlington and the theater are among one of the last that remains, and Steve & Barry’s is about to close due to bankruptcy.

“We were really pleased to be able to sell this asset,” says Lisa Indest, VP of finance and accounting for Glimcher. “The NOI was just going in the wrong direction. The property requires some investment, and we looked at our capital, and decided it was better to reinvest in other properties that have better growth potential.” The company will use the sale proceeds to help pay off a $30 million loan on the Great Mall.

She says the company realizes that it built the mall too far ahead of the growing population. “It’s a great metropolitan area, but a large outlet center didn’t match the density. We built the wrong type of mall,” Indest tells GlobeSt.com.

Block tells GlobeSt.com that the mall was built too far out at first, but now the area has caught up. “We hope to bring in more local and regional tenants. We have the firepower to re-tenant the center over the course of the next few years. We’re pretty excited about the opportunity to fill it up,” he says. The investors are now working on a capital plan, Block says. “We expect to make a number of significant changes on the interior. There’s nothing specific now, though we know we’ll be changing the carpets,” he says.

There are also a number of national tenants interested in the mall, Block says. “Right now we’re talking with them about a 2011 or 2012 occupancy,” he says, though he couldn’t divulge names of retailers. He says there’s also another 22 acres of vacant land next to the mall that could see development. “There’s an opportunity for more entertainment and destination retail,” Block says.

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