Georgia Square Mall in Athens sold

ATHENS — Georgia Square Mall parent company CBL & Associates Properties Inc. recently announced the sale of the Athens property to an offshore investor and an Atlanta-based partner.

Along with malls in Panama City, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn., CBL & Associates sold the properties for $176 million to the offshore investor and Hendon Properties, which will manage and lease space in the malls.

No specifics were offered how much the buyers paid just for the west Athens mall located on Atlanta Highway. Online records of the property sale were not immediately available through the Athens-Clarke County Clerk of Superior & State Courts’ and Tax Assessor’s offices.

Already the mall’s website has been replaced by a webpage noting a “new website coming soon” and included the Hendon Properties logo.

Hendon Properties now owns six malls and shopping centers in Georgia, three in South Carolina and another in North Carolina, according to the company’s website.

According to CBL President and CEO Stephen Lebovitz, the Tennessee-based company sold the properties to raise capital and reduce debt.

CBL Senior Vice President Katie Reinsidt told the Chattanooga Times Free Press this week that the malls sold were old and produced sluggish revenues.

The mall’s sale seems indicative of the declining retail prospects of the Atlanta Highway corridor.

In recent weeks, the mall has lost the Gap and Alumni Hall as tenants. Both shops relocated to Oconee County shopping centers.

Such relocations have created enough concern with Athens-Clarke officials for them to form a committee, which has hired Urban Land Institute to conduct a study on ways to bolster retail interest in the corridor.