Amidst the recent activity in the commercial real estate market, one large transaction was finalized. The Block 37 Mall, a four-level high shopping complex was sold to CIM Group, which is an LA based real estate fund. The sale of this often-troubled giant shopping center was confirmed Monday, April 16, 2012. The sale price has not been announced and is not expected to be revealed.
The sizable mall has suffered a close to 70 percent vacancy rate in the last three years. It is hoped that this sale and the recovering economy will lead to a new beginning. Located between State and Randolph and Dearborn and Washington, in the windy city, it is in an ideal position to make a recovery of its own amidst the larger economic recovery taking place.
The untimely foreclosure a month before the scheduled opening in 2009 painted a grim future for the shopping hub. It was sold at auction in March of 2011. Bank of America paid $100 million for the complex. That occurrence sent retailers running for the hills. It was difficult to find any business interested in signing a lease. The overall uncertainty caused more disinterest.
CIM has negotiated to manage the complex leasing and general reorganization of the Block 37 Mall. No plans have been announced. Experts in retail suggest that the right kind of trendy retail shops, restaurants and possibly a movie theater multiplex are likely choices.
The history of Block 37 was detailed in a book by Ross Miller. In 1996 he referred to it in mainly derogatory terms. He detailed the entire history of its failure. Now the new owning entity is no doubt hoping for revitalization of Block 37 to support Chicago’s Loop and vice versa.