Business

New owner buys up Sunrise Mall for $25.6M, but questions remain

Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights
File photo, Sunrise Mall. // Citrus Heights Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
Major news surfaced at a community meeting at City Hall on Monday when Citrus Heights Mayor Jeannie Bruins announced that the 1.1-million-square-foot Sunrise Mall had been sold, leaving questions about whether the aging mall will be revitalized under new ownership.

“Every time I talk to the public they have questions about the mall, so I just want to let you know that the mall has been sold again,” the mayor said in her first public remarks about the sale on Monday. She said some staffing changes at the mall had already occurred following the sale, but said “we don’t know what’s gonna happen with the new group, because this just happened.”

Susie Rodgers, general manager of Sunrise Mall, confirmed with The Sentinel on Tuesday that Namdar Realty Group had purchased the property on Dec. 21, but said she was “not familiar with any of their plans at this point.” A request for additional information was forwarded on to the new owner.

Bruins said the city had “absolutely zero success” engaging with the former owner of the property, New York-based Spinoso Real Estate Group. Spinoso had purchased the mall for an undisclosed price in 2015, which brought about speculation of redevelopment at the mall.

But apart from Spinoso getting approval to subdivide a few portions of the property nearest Greenback Lane and Sunrise Boulevard last year, no changes ever emerged. Last year, the owners also backed out of plans for a 2,500-seat pop-up stadium that would have been set up in the mall’s parking lot for hosting events.

From last year: Plans dissolve for new pop-up stadium at Sunrise Mall

Namdar Realty Group is a privately held commercial real estate investment and management firm based in New York, owning a total of 228 retail properties in 28 states, according to its website. Sunrise Mall is its first property to be acquired in California.

According to the Sacramento Business Journal, the mall was purchased for a price of $25.6 million. The last known sale price of the mall was in 2008, when the mall was reportedly sold for an estimated $110 million.

Despite positive speculation with new ownership, The Sacramento Bee reported on Tuesday that Namdar has been accused of mismanaging some of its other malls, including racking up citations by the fire marshal at a mall in New York and being called an “absentee landlord” and a “slumlord” in a lawsuit at a mall in Florida.

Namdar Realty Group directed calls from The Sentinel to property management firm Mason Asset Management, also in New York.  A spokesperson for the management group, which would handle leasing arrangements for the dozen or more current retail vacancies within the mall, did not respond to requests for comment.

The mayor said she is “very interested” in engaging with the new owners and said she is hopeful they “will have a vision for our mall and be willing to work with the city so that we can create a viable, attractive amenity to Citrus Heights.”

“As we all know, the old world of malls has gone the way of the dinosaur,” said Bruins on Monday, where she spoke during a community meeting hosted by Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost. “So stay tuned, this is obviously going to be a long-term relationship and a long-term project, but I’m hopeful that it will be good for our city.”

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