Westfield Meriden mall sold to Long Island company

An exterior view of the Westfield Meriden mall

The Long Island-based company that bought the Enfield Square Mall property here in Connecticut now has purchased the Westfield Meriden mall.

The deal between Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Namdar Reality Group closed Friday, according to officials for both companies said. Terms of the deal were not released.

The nearly 900,000-square-foot mall had been owned by Westfield since 1994. With its new owner, it will now simply be know as Meriden Mall.

“The Meriden Mall presents an exciting opportunity for our team,” Jonathan Abda, director of acquisitions and dispositions at Namdar, said in a written statement. “We look forward to serving the local community and working together to continue elevating the property.”

Another Long Island-based company, Mason Asset Management, is a part owner of the Meriden Mall property and will oversee leasing there.

“Our goal is always to add value and determine the highest and best use of each of our properties,” Elliot Nassim, president of Mason Asset Management, said in a statement. “We saw great long-term potential in Meriden Mall, making it a natural fit for our portfolio. We are excited to work alongside the community to identify the best possible tenant selection for each of the current vacancies.”

Namdar officials were not immediately available for further comment Friday on what plans they might have for their latest acquisition.

The Meriden Mall is in the midst of a transitional period at the moment, having lost its Sears anchor store in 2019 and Macy’s earlier this year.

Burt Flickinger, managing director of New York City-based Strategic Resource Group, said two possibilities for filling those anchor spots are grocery chains, Whole Foods Market and Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans.

“It’s something that would be worth considering for an upscale grocer like Wegmans or Stew Leonard’s,” he said.

Stew Leonard’s opened a store in the Paramus Park Mall in mid-September 2019, Flickinger said, and Wegmans opened an anchor store about a month later in retail development in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

But Stew Leonard Jr. told Hearst Connecticut Media in October that his management team was more focused on making the Paramus store successful than on examining other Connecticut locations. The family-owned chain already has stores in Danbury, Newington and Norwalk.

Wegmans has no Connecticut locations, which Flickinger said leaves the chain with “a doughnut hole, between its Massachusetts and New York State locations.” A company spokeswoman said the chain is always looking for new opportunities, but added that Wegmans only opens two or three stores per year and already has a list of 11 stores in six states among its list of future locations.

Flickinger, whose company has done research on the Connecticut market for Amazon, said the e-commerce giant is looking to pair new Whole Foods locations with the chain’s nearby distribution centers. Other potential tenants Namdar might seek to lure to fill its anchor vacancies are BJs Wholesale Club or rival Costco.

The Meriden Mall site meets that criteria. Whole Foods has a distribution center a few miles away on East Johnson Avenue in Cheshire, and in February, a 86,000-square-foot expansion to the facility, which will double its size, got underway.

Flickinger said he expects Namdar to move quickly to fill one of the anchor vacancies at the Meriden Mall, located at 470 Lewis Ave.

Namdar, which is privately-held, owns 55 malls and shopping centers around the country and acquired the Enfield Mall property for $11 million in January 2019.

Earlier this year, Enfield officials approved a plan by Namdar to subdivide the mall site in that community, converting what now are eight lots into 13.

The Enfield mall, which was built in 1971 and also was owned by Westfied at one time, at one point had G. Fox and JCPenney among its anchor stores. Today it has a Target, a Cinemark theater complex and a Party City among the few stores that remain.

Connecticut Media Group