Hull Property Group announced today the acquisition of the Hudson Valley Mall in the town of Ulster. The purchase had been expected since last month, with an estimated sale price of around $8 million – a fraction of the property’s $66 million assessment.
Hull cited the mall’s difficulties in its announcement.
“We believe that it is important for a community to have a vibrant retail corridor and a first class enclosed mall, but it is clear that the Hudson Valley Mall is not succeeding in its current state,” the release reads. “Due to changing shopping habits and the current exodus of retailers, a great amount of time, capital and effort is needed to turn the Hudson Valley Mall around.”
Indeed, previous reports stated Hull would invest around $10 million to improve the 765,700 square-foot mall.
The company said it would work with local leaders, community stakeholders and surrounding property owners “to build a consensus on what the future should be for not only the Mall but the entire Highway 9W retail corridor…If we don’t share a vision for the future of this important area and work together to achieve that vision, then the marketplace may dictate an unfortunate and unforgiving future.”
Also referenced was the still pending bid by previous owner PCK Development of Liverpool to reduce the assessed value of the property to $40 million. The sale price puts Hull in a position to argue for a still-lower valuation. That would be a one-two punch for the local taxbase, still reeling from a court’s ruling last April reducing the assessment of TechCity, the former IBM campus across the street from the mall, by a third.
The purchase by Hull follows its acquisition of three malls from Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates on Dec. 19. The malls, located in Wisconsin, Georgia and North Carolina, share similar circumstances, having recently lost one or more anchor stores. In a release announcing that sale, Hull said it had a successful record of reviving under-performing malls in small markets. It owns 28 enclosed malls in 12 states.
Another long-time anchor store, Sears, managed to survive another round of store closings. That company announced earlier this week that 150 Sears and Kmart stores would be closing in early 2017. The only store from our neck of the woods on the list was Middletown, but the company is clearly in trouble. Sears subsequently announced the sale of its venerable Craftsman line of tools to Stanley Black & Decker, a move characterized by the New York Times as an effort to raise cash after a disappointing holiday season that saw sales fall 12 percent.
Also reporting disappointing holiday sales: Kohl’s (which has a location just down the street from the Hudson Valley Mall) and Macy’s, which announced it would close 68 stores and lay off 10,000.
Meanwhile, Amazon had its best holiday season ever.