Towne Square Mall, which changed hands just 19 months ago, has been purchased by a group of local investors.

Towne Square Mall Holdings LLC finalized the transaction and took over operation of the mall on Monday. The firm will work with Gulfstream Commercial Services LLC "to recruit and retain quality tenants for this quality venue," Gulfstream chief operating officer Ed Ray said in a press release Monday.

TSM Holdings purchased the 35-acre mall site containing the mall from Kohan Retail Investments, a Great Head, New York, firm that owns several malls across the country, according to its website. Kohan purchased the mall in May 2018, with a company official saying the mall hadn't had "hands-on ownership" for a while.

Kohan purchased the mall for $2.9 million.

Ray said he had not been authorized to disclose how much TSM Holdings paid for the mall.

The purchase price was "north of the purchase price" Kohan paid last year, Ray said. The purchase price would be available when the deed is filed, Ray said, but said he was unsure if the deed had been filed Monday.

The mall's assessed value was $28.4 million in 2016.

When asked about about Kohan's decision to sell the mall, Ray said, "I don't know a whole lot about that group. My understanding is they are in the process of making more mall purchases."

Officials at Kohan could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

Ray said TSM is made up of "local investors who truly wanted to get that property back" so it wasn't owned by "a New York-based operating entity that doesn't necessarily have Owensboro on the top of its list when thinking about its investment portfolio."

Of TSM's investors, Ray said they own property across the city, such as in downtown, on Kentucky 54 and in the area of MidAmerica Airpark.

Ray said that demonstrates the investors believe there's value throughout the community, "not just in one particular corridor."

The mall first opened in 1978 and has changed hands several times. Ray said the mall's roof was replaced within the past five years and noted the mall has a new HVAC system.

"The structure appears to be in great shape," he said.

TSM Holdings is a Gulfstream client, and Ray said the firms will involve the public in deciding the direction the mall will take.

"A lot of thought is going into what is best for the mall, and how we bring it back as an important piece of the community," Ray said. "We definitely think there's more opportunity with local people thinking about what's best for local real estate.

"Traditionally, brick-and-mortar malls are not thriving, unless they are willing to invest time and talent" to make those malls a space "that can accommodate more than traditional shopping outlets."

The Macy's store, which is owned by Macy's, was not part of the sale. When asked what kind of businesses TSM and Gulfstream would like to bring to the mall, Ray said, "nothing is off the table.

"I think it's the normal course of business that things transition," he said. "That being the case, there is a place for the mall in our community. I was in there today, and the mall had a lot of traffic. It had kids and families and individuals in there to do what malls do, promote a hands-on shopping experience. We think we can bring that back to the mall and are inviting the public to (say) what they think they need in the mall. It has been a long time since anyone has asked that question" of the public, Ray said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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