SO IT’S BEEN nearly six months since the main part of the Westwood Mall (not Kohl’s) was sold to the Kohan Retail Investment Group out of Great Neck, New York.
What followed was hope that this languishing mall would finally be revived.
Okay, there are new signs outside. Nothing jazzy…just new.
Then you take a walk through the indoor mall and look for more signs of life, and you’re not rewarded. You count the number of stores that are open in the mall (not counting Kohl’s) and you come up with six. And that doesn’t include the bridge club which is occupying one of the spaces.
It’s a ghost mall, nearly devoid of shoppers (except for Kohl’s which seems reasonably busy).
The Westwood Mall features many more vacancies than stores these days.
But then you talk to Michael Kohan, who owns this and nearly 30 other malls, and he sounds optimistic.
“It’s going well with the tenants we have there,” he says, “and we have four or five more that we’re in discussions with.” So some new tenants may move in within the next few months? Yes, he says. Any other improvements to the mall in the months ahead? No, not really. He sounds distracted, as though he’s got other business to attend to.
He has been busy. He bought six malls, most of them troubled, last year. They included malls in Eastland and Midland, Michigan.
Not only has he been buying distressed properties, but he’s faced legal, business and PR problems over the years, some of which we outlined earlier this year. The problems continue.
You want to give Kohan a chance to make this work. But sometime soon, you’d also like to see the tiniest indication of progress.