NEWARK — The Newark Mall, a mall anchored by a grocery store and movie theater in the heart of the city’s downtown, has been sold for $33.5 million.
The 145,400 square foot mall at 230 E. Main St. had been on the market for almost three years, following the conclusion of an extensive renovation project – the first on the square for around 50 years. The buyer was not disclosed in a sale announcement, but county land records reveal the buyer is Maryland Financial Investorsan investment company that owns and manages a portfolio of commercial, office and industrial properties in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Built in 1955, the center was acquired by a partnership between Atlantic Realty Company and New York investment firm Angelo Gordon in 2008. Virginia-based Atlantic Realty sold the Blue Hen Lanes bowling alley, which was redeveloped into One Easton, an off-campus, high-rise apartment complex for University of Delaware students, and has invested $10 million in mall renovations.
Atlantic Real Estate saw a sale-to-sale return of 186% on its original acquisition of about $11.7 million in 2008, or a return of about 54% when factoring in its renovation costs, according to land records.
Today, the 11.9-acre center is 93% occupied with 31 tenants, according to Neuman Commercial Group, the Maryland-based brokerage firm that listed the property.
In 2015, the center secured its new flagship grocery store when the Newark Natural Foods store moved from Main Street. A year later, Main Street Movies revamped the aging cinema to continue to attract customers as well.
More recently, Chase Bank opened one of its few physical Delaware branches in the mall and An Easton was acquired by KKR, a New York-based private equity firm, for $73 million. Meanwhile, Churrascaria Saudades, a Brazilian steakhouse, recently left his space in the mall to move to a Christiana Fashion Center location near the Christiana Mall.
Adam Schulman, director of Atlantic Realty Companies, acknowledged the involvement of residents, local leaders and elected officials in the revitalization of Delaware’s second oldest mall.
“The last improvements to the center date back more than 50 years and we have worked with tenants and the community to modernize the center to meet today’s needs. A few of the major improvements to the center included the complete renovation and expansion of the cinema, the provision of direct connectivity to the Pomeroy Trail, and the addition of a walkable multi-family housing element to the site. In addition to working with citizen leaders, Atlantic staff had the opportunity to meet and work with Marilyn Minister, one of the first tenants of the Newark Mall in 1955, and U.S. Senator Chris Coons, who grew up in the area,” he said. in a report.
Gil Neuman, director of the Neuman Commercial Group, said the university’s COVID closure halted the company’s first commercialization process, but the property worked with tenants to help them through the tough times.
“It had the effect of strengthening what was already a good rent register. There was strong interest in the Newark mall and Atlantic worked closely with a top buyer who closed as promised, albeit during a last minute interest rate spike,” a- he added in a press release.