Central Mall in Fort Smith has changed hands in a $17 million deal that moved ownership of the iconic location to Igal Namdar and Elliot Nassim of Great Neck, N.J., according to a Jan. 2 deed filed with the Sebastian County Assessors Office.
The 54.72-acre tract and structures – excluding the Dillard’s Department Store – is now managed and leased by Namdar Realty Group. The structure is about 864,305 square feet, which includes the Dillard’s store.
Central Mall was built by the Ed Warmack family out of Texarkana, Texas (Warmack & Company). The mall was bought by by Atlanta-based Gregory Greenfield & Associates in August 2005, with Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle hired to manage the mall property. Gregory Greenfield & Associates was acquired by Australia-based Babcock & Brown in August 2007, with Central Mall being part of eight malls sold in October 2008 to the Oxford Properties Group based in Toronto, Canada.
Information provided by Sebastian County Assessor Zach Johnson to Talk Business & Politics shows that Central Mall is owned by Mason Asset Management, which is owned and managed by Namdar and Nassim. Mason was founded in 2010 and owns more than 120 shopping centers, including 45 regional malls, totaling more than 30 million square feet.
Mason Asset Management also owns the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville, which has 820,645-square-feet of leasable space.
A June 2016 story from Reuters said Mason’s focus is to buy malls and other retail properties at low prices.
“According to real estate data firm Trepp, Namdar and Mason bought 22 properties that were being sold in bankruptcy auctions between the start of 2015 and the end of 2017, paying an average of $5.3 million for each mall. This reflects a 92 percent discount to the value of the malls when they secured their loans, according to Reuters calculations,” noted the Reuters story.
The story also indicated that Mason’s strategy is to “invest as little as possible on many of their properties, adding the aim is to hold the assets, not redevelop them.”
Other Arkansas properties owned by Mason include the Wendy’s restaurants in Blytheville and Forrest City, and the Conway Towne Center in Conway.
Attempts to contact officials with Mason Asset Management were unsuccessful.