Connecticut shopping center taken off market just year after listing for $30M

Will they or won’t they?

Less than one year after listing Brass Mill Commons in Waterbury for $30 million, the owner last week pulled it from the market, CT Insider reported.

The decision to pull the listing came after Kohan Retail Investment Group purchased the Commons and the adjacent Brass Mill Center mall from Brookfield Properties for $45 million — $26 million for the Commons and $19 million for the mall — in the spring 2022.

Kohan specializes in purchasing distressed malls and turning them around by populating them with bungee jumping machines, among other things.

The 200,000-square-foot Commons, which sits on just over 19 acres, counts Barnes & Noble, TJ Maxx, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Buffalo Wild Wings and Michaels as its tenants.

Forged Real Estate had the listing for the Commons, which is the more successful of the two properties, then-Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O’Leary told the Republican-American nearly two years ago. 

O’Leary didn’t mince words concerning the mall’s difficulties over the past decade.

“The Brass Mill Commons is a thriving center and has done remarkably well,” O’Leary said. “That mall has struggled for years. Urban malls like it have struggled for many, many years, even before online shopping. The Commons, successful. Across the street, not so successful. … The Brass Mill mall is suffering from what most malls are suffering from, not only in Connecticut, but across America. People are shopping online. There are several different malls in Connecticut that have sold in recent years for dramatically less than what they were valued at because they are empty. Such is the case in this case.”

Kohan, which listed the Commons in late February 2023, has now hired  Middlebury commercial real estate agent Brian Godin to oversee leasing at both Brass Mill Commons and the Brass Mill Center mall.

Both Brass Mill Commons and Brass Mill Center, opened in 1997, are located on Union Street and are easily accessible from Interstate 84. Brass Mill Center, one of Connecticut’s largest malls at 1.1 million square feet, features Burlington and JCPenney as anchors. However, the mall faced challenges with about three dozen vacant stores at the end of 2023, losing its Sears anchor store and a Regal Cinemas theater.

Recent developments include the opening of an Ashley Furniture outlet in the former Macy’s anchor store, owned by Connecticut businessman Sami Abunasra. The store occupies 30,000 square feet, with the remainder of the nearly  161,800 square-foot space being sought for other tenants by the Abunasra brothers.

— Ted Glanzer

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