Omaha’s struggling Oak View Mall is looking for a new owner.
Chicago-based Nuveen, the enclosed shopping center’s current ownership group, has given up on an effort to put together a mixed-use plan to revive the property at 144th Street and West Center Road.
During the past year or so, Nuveen had engaged a team of architects, general contractors and engineers to study potential redevelopment strategies that would incorporate office and other elements into the retail-focused area.
But with the COVID-exacerbated commercial real estate slowdown, Nuveen has decided to put the property on the market, said CBRE’s Bennett Ginsberg. CBRE’s Omaha office is listing agent and manager of the mall.
Nuveen also could end up staying on as a partner in a future redevelopment, Ginsberg said, but felt that a buyer who also is a developer would be better suited to shepherd that project.
Ginsberg remains optimistic that the property, especially given its accessibility, can be successfully turned around. Indeed, he said, one potential buyer has already come forward and expressed interest.
“There is just a great opportunity,” Ginsberg said. “People have great memories of the Oak View.”
He cited its central location and the sprawling Heartwood Preserve redevelopment, only a mile or so away, as carrots for a future developer of the mall site.
At about 860,000 square feet, the enclosed shopping center was built in 1991. About half of that is owned by Nuveen and was to go on the market Monday with no price listed, Ginsberg said.
Separately owned are the Dillard’s and J.C. Penney anchors. Those stores, and their parking lots, aren’t part of the sale. The Sears shell also is excluded, as is the ring road of stores around Oak View.
Ginsberg said that Nuveen, in a “friendly takeover,” assumed ownership of the mall property in late 2018 when Brookfield Properties Retail Group relinquished its interest. Nuveen had a financial stake before the takeover.
The mall, which spans about 60 acres including parking lots, has suffered setbacks with the departure of major players Sears and Younkers a couple of years ago. The Rush Market now occupies the Younkers space, and a Halloween retail store is temporarily in the Sears space.
Occupancy of the mall, according to CBRE, was at 78% at the end of the most recent quarter with about 76 retailers operating.
Also dealing a blow is the rise of online shopping and shifting consumer practices that have pushed many buyers away from brick-and-mortar retail stores. And Oak View faced increasing competition from newer places such as Village Pointe and Nebraska Crossing in Gretna and from the refreshed Westroads.
Now COVID-19 has infused further uncertainty into the retail and commercial markets.
CBRE’s Ginsberg said that Nuveen, by putting the Oak View property on the market, is hoping to explore all options for resurrecting the mall site.
“People have great memories of the Oak View.” CBRE’s Bennett Ginsberg