Posted: 4:29 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013

Region’s largest mall not for sale, owners say

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Region’s largest mall not for sale, owners say photo
Nick Daggy
The owner of Forest Fair Village in Fairfield said the mall is not up for sale. The 2 million-square-foot mall was previously named Cincinnati Mall, Cincinnati Mills and Forest Fair Mall.
Region’s largest mall not for sale, owners say photo
Nick Daggy
The owner of Forest Fair Village in Fairfield said the mall is not up for sale. The 2 million-square-foot mall was previously named Cincinnati Mall, Cincinnati Mills and Forest Fair Mall.
Region’s largest mall not for sale, owners say photo
Nick Daggy
The owner of Forest Fair Village in Fairfield said the mall is not up for sale. The 2 million-square-foot mall was previously named Cincinnati Mall, Cincinnati Mills and Forest Fair Mall.
Region’s largest mall not for sale, owners say photo
The owner of Forest Fair Village in Fairfield said the mall is not up for sale. The 2 million-square-foot mall was previously named Cincinnati Mall, Cincinnati Mills and Forest Fair Mall.

By Ed Richter

Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD —

The owner of Forest Fair Village in Fairfield said Thursday that the Cincinnati region’s largest mall is not up for sale, contrary to published reports.

The Cincinnati Business Courier is reporting that the 2 million-square-foot mall — previously named Cincinnati Mall, Cincinnati Mills and Forest Fair Mall — was listed for sale this week for $45 million.

But Marty Bauta, a manager with owner World Properties Inc., told this newspaper the mall is not for sale and no one from the company had listed the property. Bauta said he is in charge of operations for all properties owned by the company.

“We were shocked to hear someone had listed it,” Bauta said during a phone interview Thursday. “We never listed it with anybody. I don’t know who would have listed it. It’s not for sale.”

He then added: “If someone really wants to buy it, we’ll sit down with them and make a deal.”

The mall, which straddles the cities of Fairfield and Forest Park, has struggled for years. It was purchased by Cincinnati Holdings Co. LLC, an affiliate of World Properties, in 2010. Several different redevelopment plans for the mall — including an ice arena, indoor water park and hotel — never panned out, and it continues to face stiff competition from newer malls that have opened throughout the region in recent years.

Bauta said problems with past managers of the property is a key part of the mall’s struggles. He said he expects Forest Fair Village to be more than 70 percent occupied by next year and that the owners are in the process of working to bring in a sports complex.

Kerry Roell, a partner with Nantucket Promotions, which is seeking to develop the Cincinnati Sport Zone complex, said he’s been in frequent contact with the owners and they have indicated over the past several months an interest in selling the property.

“It’s not a surprise to me that it may be for sale,” he said.

Roell said his group is still working with the owner to buy about one-third of the mall for their project. He said his group is still actively looking for partners to help with financing the project.

One of the big hurdles for any redevelopment at the mall are the back taxes it owes to Butler and Hamilton counties. In addition, the Cincinnati Port Authority also holds debt bonds on the mall.

Because of those issues, Roell said he did not want to buy something he could not get a clear title on.

“We’re still very interested, and we want to stay in that location,” he said.

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