Vintage Real Estate Aims to Breathe New Life into Heritage Mall

by Nate Hunter

Albany, Ore. — Heritage Mall opened in 1988 and was remodeled in 2006.

Albany, Ore.  — Vintage Real Estate LLC has acquired the 406,500-square-foot Heritage Mall, an underperforming shopping center in Albany, from a consortium of lenders for an undisclosed sum. Albany is one of the fastest growing cities in Oregon.

A major shopping destination for the city and Linn County, Heritage Mall features 52 major retailers, boutiques and restaurants. Among the retailers are Target, Sears, Ross Dress for Less and Old Navy, Maurices, rue21, Zumiez, Famous Footwear, GameStop and Bath & Body Works.

Heritage Mall is located on 33 acres west of Interstate 5 and just north of Corvallis, home of Oregon State University and its more than 26,000 students. The mall, which opened in 1988, was remodeled in 2006 and currently is 50 percent occupied. This transaction removed $38 million in debt from the property.

Albany’s population of 50,158 has risen nearly 21 percent since 2000. However, the area’s unemployment rate stood at 10.4 percent in October, well above the national average.

“We have the capacity, both in terms of capital and management, to reposition the mall and improve its performance by adding many national tenants,” says Fred Sands, chairman of Los Angeles-based Vintage Real Estate, which acquires and redevelops underperforming malls and large shopping centers throughout the country. “It is a strong addition to our retail real estate portfolio.”

This is the first retail property investment for Vintage in Oregon. The company focuses on retail properties and owns numerous properties in California, Washington and other states.

Vintage has a long-term strategy that builds on the strengths of this asset such as its central location and the recent property improvements, according to Charlie Christensen, executive vice president of asset management for Vintage Real Estate. “With our retail relationships and experience, we can re-merchandise the mall and enhance its appeal to consumers throughout the region.”

Vintage is in discussions with numerous additional national tenants and has identified a replacement anchor for a vacant Gottschalks space. “This new anchor tenant, along with the planned redevelopment, will generate significant new customer traffic and allow Vintage to upgrade the existing tenant mix and increase occupancy,” says Roger Burghdorf, executive vice president of Leasing for Vintage.

Sands formed Vintage Capital Group in 2001 to continue his private investment activities in commercial real estate and operating businesses of the past two decades. Sands previously owned Fred Sands Realtors, California’s largest independent residential real estate brokerage and financial services companies. Sands sold Fred Sands Realtors to Coldwell Banker in November 2000.

Sands also founded Vintage Fund Management, a private equity fund focused on investing in established middle-market businesses that seek a long-term capital solution and partner to provide financial and operational assistance to grow and expand.

— Matt Valley

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