Hamilton Place Mall owners CBL & Associates closed the deal on the $11.5 million purchase of Northgate Mall Sept. 30, raising questions in the minds of both fans and critics of the Hixson mall as to what will happen next.
"Since Chattanooga is our headquarters, this is a great opportunity for us to invest in the market and continue our growth here in our hometown," said Katie Reinsmidt, vice president of corporate communications and investor relations at CBL & Associates. "We'll always have Hamilton Place here, but this will provide us another outlet to serve Hixson residents."
She said the company is still formulating plans for its new acquisition north of the river.
"We think there's a place for Northgate to play a more important role in the retail landscape in the [U.S. Highway] 153/Hixson Pike landscape," said Reinsmidt. "We don't have a timeline in place, but we're certainly working behind the scenes."
Joe Janosko, Northgate's senior general manager under former owner General Growth Properties, said he will continue to manage the property as a CBL employee.
"I definitely think CBL acquiring Northgate is truly a great thing for Northgate Mall," said Janosko, a 40-plus-year veteran of the retail and retail real estate business who has managed Northgate for nearly a decade.
He said he first worked with CBL in the early '80s as vice president of management review for Chicago-based JMB Realty. Among his duties was to serve as the JMB owners' representative in meetings with joint venture partner CBL & Associates.
"CBL and I have really come full circle after almost 30 years," said Janosko. "I genuinely appreciate being invited to be a member of the CBL management team and I'm enthused about the prospective changes that CBL is going to make at Northgate Mall."
The $11.5 million purchase is considered a good deal for CBL.
"The property definitely will require additional investment, but we felt the economics were compelling," said Reinsmidt.
She said Charles Lebovitz, executive chairman of CBL & Associates Properties Inc. since 1993, helped develop the property originally in 1972 as president of the shopping center division of Arlen Realty.
"He personally signed the lease of each business," said Reinsmidt.