CBL buying Chattanooga's Northgate Mall

photo Patrons enter Hixson's Northgate Mall in this file photo.

Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Properties Inc. has agreed to buy Northgate Mall for $11.5 million in cash from General Growth Properties, officials said today.

CBL, which already owns Hamilton Place mall in the city, plans to revitalize Northgate, said Stephen Lebovitz, CBL's chief executive.

Those plans may include the addition of junior anchor stores and restaurants and repurposing a nearby community center, he said.

"This transaction represents a unique and special opportunity for us to grow our presence in our hometown," Lebovitz said.

Charles Lebovitz, CBL's chairman, said officials are "very excited. It represents a good opportunity to recreate Northgate."

While no particular stores were named, CBL officials said the company envisions creating a destination that will better serve the area north of the Tennessee River while complementing Hamilton Place mall's position as the dominant fashion outlet in the market.

Stephen Lebovitz said that since CBL was formed in 1978, the company has demonstrated its confidence in Chattanooga by investing in its growth.

"The acquisition of Northgate Mall is just another example of that commitment," the company's CEO said.

Northgate Mall has 823,000 square feet of enclosed space at Highway 153 and Hixson Pike. It was built in 1972 by Arlen Shopping Center and is currently 91 percent leased. CBL anticipates closing on the Northgate Mall deal by Oct. 6.

Chicago-based GGP acquired the mall in 2000, but GGP in 2009 filed for bankruptcy in one of the biggest commercial real estate collapses in U.S. history.

GGP, which emerged from bankruptcy last November, put Northgate Mall up for sale in an online auction this week, and CBL submitted the winning bid Wednesday.

CBL is one of the nation's largest owners and developers of shopping centers and malls. It owns, holds interests in or manages 158 properties.

For full story, see Friday's Times Free Press.

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