A major announcement about a new anchor store for the Adrian Mall could be coming within a few weeks, according to a representative of the Tabani Group, the Dallas-based company that purchased the mall last winter.
Michael Schackman, asset manager for the Tabani Group, addressed the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce Adrian in the A.M. breakfast today.
“Right now, we have two large anchors in the works to come to the mall,” he said, adding that he had hoped to be able to announce one of them today, but the announcement will probably be a few weeks off. Nonetheless, he said, he’s “very confident” in the deal.
The Tabani Group owns a total of more than 10 million square feet of commercial, hotel and residential real estate, including nine shopping centers. The company specializes in turning around underperforming properties.
“We like deals that are tough, that require the effort — things we feel we can add value to,” Schackman said.
He compared the Adrian Mall, which currently has about half of its square footage occupied, to another mall the company owns, Village Mall in Danville, Illinois. Tabani purchased that mall in 2009 and has brought it from 64 percent occupancy to 90 percent, he said, bringing in retailers like Slumberland Furniture, Dunham’s Sports, Ross Dress for Less, and Burlington Coat Factory.
Schackman said the Adrian Mall has a good location — “that corner is an extremely well-traveled corner,” he said — and the Tabani Group saw unrealized potential.
“It wasn’t getting the attention that we felt it needed,” he said.
He said the goal for the mall’s growth is not to pull from other area businesses, but to draw the kind of stores that people currently go out of town for.
“We feel like the city of Adrian is losing too much business to Ann Arbor and Toledo, and that’s something we want to change,” he said.
Since finalizing the purchase on Dec. 4, he said, he’s heard a lot of questions about what the new owners would do with the mall, including people asking if it would just be razed.
“We’re not going to tear the whole mall down,” he said. “There will always be some kind of interior component to the mall.”
Although it’s hard to say exactly what the mall will look like in the future, he said, Michigan weather combined with the desire to host community events means the mall will always have indoor public space.
Schackman added that decisions about stores as large as a mall anchor store don’t happen quickly, but the anchor stores are the linchpin that help bring the rest of the mall around.
“The process is, land the big tenants and the big tenants bring the small tenants, and I feel like we’re on track,” he said.