A new ownership, management and leasing team has announced plans for significant renewal efforts at Ford City Mall, the largest enclosed mall in Chicago outside of downtown and a well-established retail destination.
As part of a plan to enhance the mall’s offerings, the new ownership group, iStar Financial Inc., has tapped U.S. Equities Realty for mall management and SRS Real Estate Partners for retail leasing. All entities have significant experience in commercial and retail real estate, with portfolios that include turnarounds of properties in the Chicago area and beyond.
“We know there is a strong need for a full-service retail mall in this area of Chicago and a pent up demand from the community, and we are excited about the opportunity,” said Cynthia Tucker, senior vice president, iStar Financial Inc.
The new team has begun plans for initial improvements to the property, which will begin in 2014, that include a façade renovation, updated interior lighting and finishes and substantial landscaping. The work is designed to make it a desirable place for families on the city’s south and southwest sides and surrounding suburbs to shop.
“We have a strong track record in successfully repositioning and increasing profitability for properties all across Chicago,” said Katherine Scott, executive vice president, U.S. Equities Realty. “We have hit the ground running working with our strong mall management team that knows what needs to be done at Ford City. We want to make sure it’s an attractive shopping destination for families in the surrounding area.”
To accomplish this goal, the leasing agents at SRS Real Estate Partners will focus on attracting the right retailers to provide the community with the retail mix it needs.
“We’ve only been on board a few weeks and we have already received many phone calls from retailers interested in Ford City,” said Ken Galvin, senior vice president, SRS Real Estate Partners. “I’m hearing a strong desire to locate at the mall because of the incredible density and strong retail activity in the surrounding area.”
Ford City’s market area reaches from Chicago to nearby suburban communities. The SRS leasing team will focus on attracting more retailers, including women’s and children’s apparel for work and school, fine jewelry stores and other family stores. The new team also sees potential for more community events at the mall. Ford City recently hosted a jobs fair as part of its community service and has plans in the works for other events this summer and fall.