The Central Mall in Salina is going through a management change, and the facility will no longer have a local manager. The manager position is changing, and will be based in California.
According to the facility, this last week after many long phone calls and decisions, California based ownership Central Mall Realty Holding, LLC has made the decision to eliminate the local Manager Lisa McDowell, and manage from their office in California. The decision was made due to financial restraints. McDowell could possibly remain on as contracted staff for consulting on leasing and marketing.
Since May 2005, McDowell has sat in the chair that spearheaded events, marketing and specialty leasing at Central Mall. In 2007 after a Former owner, Ed Okun had purchased the Mall and later to be found out that he had embezzled the money from a 1031 Tax Group, McDowell was promoted to General Manager to spear- headed the Acquisition of working directly with Wells Fargo and their asset department in turning the distressed financial mall around. Okun was sentenced to 100 years in Federal Prison. In 2010 the Mall was sold to a Hedge Fund group out of New York, Garrison Investment Group and was managed by multiple Third Party Management Groups over the past decade. The Central Mall remained stable with being 92% occupied and financially stable until the halt of Brick and mortar shopping started plummeting over the past three years. Majority of junior apparel to close with Vanity Shops closing 140 stores Nationwide. Rue 21 went to bankruptcy and had to close 400 nationwide stores and Salina was on the list. Each one of these closures were not isolated to central Kansas but normally in small market shops the smallest stores hit the list in the departure. Salina was fortunate to have Sears three years longer than any other of the Region. In 2017, Sears choose to close 150 stores of Sears and Kmart’s and that year and the Salina Kansas Store was on the list. Later in that year Dillard’s had made the decision to close the Salina store as the profitability had also plummeted and their stocks were taking a dip. Also, Salina was fortunate to keep Salina Dillard’s three years longer than Hutchinson and Manhattan Kansas.
McDowell put together a group of owners, architects, agents, brokers and city officials for a plan of how to turn the Central Mall around with a plan to renovate the large 96,315 square foot tenant and into a large user that may drive entertainment to Salina and then to split the 73,063 square foot user, Dillard’s into multiple users which she had played a big part of sending out Letters of Intent to many National and Regional Tenants that share interest in the market. We are so close to landing several of the new interest of these National tenants that carry a wide range of retail usages, McDowell said.