RiverTown Crossings in Grandville RiverTown Crossings in Grandville MIBIZ FILE PHOTO: KATY BATDORFF

Former West Michigan Younkers store locations to be auctioned

BY Thursday, January 03, 2019 10:44am

Two department store properties in West Michigan will hit the auction block this month.

Real estate advisory and brokerage firm A&G Realty Partners on Jan. 28 plans to auction off 10 department store properties formerly owned by Milwaukee-based The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. Former Younkers stores at RiverTown Crossings in Grandville and The Lakes Mall in Fruitport Charter Township near Muskegon are included in the auction.

Both anchor stores closed last year.

In May, a joint venture between Great American Group LLC, Tiger Capital Group LLC and Bon-Ton’s second lien noteholders retained A&G to dispose all real estate assets of the former retailer. The assets included seven ground leases, 194 leased locations and 23 fee-owned properties.

“To date, 13 fee-owned and seven leased properties have been successfully sold to storage users, developers/investors, fitness centers, a casino, home furnishings retailers, and healthcare users, to name a few,” Michael Jerbich, Chicago-based principal at A&G, said in a statement. “The large-format spaces on auction here are rife for reinvention and repurposing, and the sale also represents a tremendous opportunity for market penetration in these areas.”

At RiverTown, Younkers had a two-story, 150,081-square-foot space on a 9.94-acre lot. The Younkers at The Lakes Mall occupied 106,131 square feet on a 9.7-acre lot.

Closings at the two malls reflected challenges in the retail sector shifting from its traditional bricks-and-mortar model, with large malls and shopping centers across the country losing big-box anchor stores in recent years.

Late last year, executives with international real estate firm Brookfield Property Partners LP, which last summer acquired RiverTown Crossings’ former owner GGP Inc., told analysts they believe many of the firm’s portfolio of 125 shopping centers are primed for redevelopment. However, industry sources told MiBiz they thought massive reinvestment would be an unlikely outcome in Grandville, given how the project fits into Brookfield’s broader portfolio.

Bids for the bankruptcy auction are due Jan. 25. The auction will begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 30 at the New York offices of Jones Day LLP, the debtors’ counsel.

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