Owners say Meriden mall ‘in full operation’ despite store vacancies

MERIDEN — Meriden Mall management issued a statement Monday addressing concerns over vacancies and pledged to provide updates on new leasing activity.

“Meriden Mall is in full operation and will continue to remain open for the foreseeable future,” according to the statement from Namdar Realty Group of New York and Mason Asset Management. “The acquisition of Meriden Mall this past June represented a unique opportunity to revitalize valuable square-footage within a centrally located, community destination.”

Namdar Realty Group said the company’s goal is to bring in new and alternative tenants while repositioning the property. The company plans to bolster existing tenants with new opportunities and new leasing and development.

In a statement, mall management did not reveal specifics about lease negotiations, but said “we are still exploring all our options” and seeking to redevelop some of the vacant anchor spaces while “taking an aggressive leasing approach to fill those spaces.”

A shopping trip at the Meriden Mall last month prompted Mayor Kevin Scarpati to request a meeting with owners and
leasing representatives about the mall’s future.

“I could not help but see the vacancies, and store closings,” Scarpati said. “I was walking the mall and seeing the sheer number of vacancies made me wonder what’s planned for the future.”

Namdar Realty Group purchased the 16-acre site from Westfield Unibail Rodamco in June for $12.5 million. The city had assessed the property at $53 million. City officials have not received any notice to appeal the assessment, which likely wouldn’t arrive until after the city’s Grand List is completed on March 1. Namdar also owns the Enfield Mall and 52 other shopping centers in the U.S.

Meriden Mall Manager Chris Powers could not be reached for comment, but Scarpati said a meeting is planned for Wednesday afternoon. Scarpati and other city officials want to introduce themselves to representatives from Namdar and its leasing arm, Mason Asset Management.

Around the country, store closures caused by the pandemic have exacerbated problems in the retail sector, forcing malls to rethink their footprints and consider other uses including offices, schools and housing.

The Meriden Mall lost both Sears and Macy’s within the past two years and smaller tenants including Express, Amy’s Hallmark Shop, Charlotte Russe and Game Stop are also moving out. The mall’s western wing, which houses Dick’s, Best Buy, Old Navy, and TJ Maxx, still boasts strong traffic, as does remaining anchor store Boscov’s.

City officials are aware the retail industry is struggling but want to be made aware of any reconfiguration plans.

“Retail has been on the decline for several years due to online shopping habits that due to COVID definitely increased as the states forced malls to close for health reasons,” city Economic Development Director Joseph Feest said in an email.

Scarpati called the vacancies “concerning” and looks forward to meeting the owners.

“I want to understand what their long-term and short-term plans are,” Scarpati said.

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz

"I was walking the mall and seeing the sheer number of vacancies made me wonder what’s planned for the future."

-Mayor Kevin Scarpati

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