A New York-based real estate investment firm is under contract to buy the Burlington Center Mall and is reportedly planning to redevelop the moribund Burlington Township retail property into a mostly industrial enclave.
An affiliate of Clarion Partners LLC, owner of the Burlington Industrial Park on the South Jersey township’s Delaware River waterfront, was moving forward with plans to buy the property as of Jan. 16, according to a notice of settlement recorded for the property with the Burlington County Clerk’s Office.
Clarion representatives have told township officials they envision a redevelopment plan for the property that would be dominated by warehouses, the Burlington County Times reported on its website last week.
“We’ve seen plans, but there’s nothing that we find to be a good fit,” Burlington Mayor Brian Carlin told the paper. “They’ve had too much warehouse and not enough retail to make it feasible.”
Clarion is set to buy the mall property from a unit of Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC of Las Vegas, which bought the mall for $4.4 million in 2012, and AA Storage LLC of Franklin Lakes, N.J., owner of the mall’s former Sears store, according to the notice of settlement, which did not indicate a purchase price.
The once-bustling mall, which launched in 1982, has been vacant since its Sears closed in September, about nine months after the rest of the mall was shuttered due to damage from burst pipes. AA Storage bought the Sears property for $1.7 million from a unit of the troubled Chicago-area retail chain in October, according to clerk’s office records.
Moonbeam officials have said as recently as December that they were still planning to follow through with their long-discussed turnaround plan for the property, which called for spending $230 million to update the mall into an open-air shopping plaza.
Carlin told the Burlington County Times that he now accepts that such a plan is unrealistic.
“We had a mall that was well thought of, but our community and the surrounding area could not sustain it,” he said. “It makes it a hard sell.”