A rendering from the city of Burnsville’s Center Village redevelopment plan hints at what a refurbished Burnsville Center might look like inside.

Will set the stage for larger improvements, company says

The new owner’s plans for rescuing Burnsville Center first involve breaking up and selling off parts of the property.

Burnsville Center Capital Holding LLC is seeking to subdivide its property into the mall portion and the northern outparcel that includes Dick’s Sporting Goods, Schuler Shoes and other tenants.

The northern parcel would include nine new lots and one new outlot, some of which could be sold to developers.

The company says that will enable it to turn its attention to improving the suffering regional mall and working with the city on its Center Village redevelopment vision for the mall and surrounding County Road 42 retail area.

“We will be selling off outparcels so that we can pay back our investors and the bank and then inject all remaining funds back into the Burnsville Mall site,” company representative Felix Reznick wrote in a report to the city. “Once financial stability is achieved at the mall site, we will be in a more viable position to participate in the longer-term vision and redevelopment of the mall area.”

The Burnsville Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend approval of a planned unit development amendment and plat allowing the changes. The measure includes the owner’s dedication of right-of-way for an extension of Aldrich Avenue to increase access to the property, as recommended in a Center Village traffic study.

The measure goes to the City Council on Sept. 21.

“We do believe the proposal is consistent with our goal of a diverse and creative retail mix within the Center Village vision, and that the plat and PUD amendment are a great first step forward in accomplishing the goals of the Center Village vision for the vacant areas of the Burnsville Center and surrounding areas in this retail zone,” City Planner Sarah Madden told commissioners.

Burnsville Center Capital Holding is an entity of New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group, which bought about half the mall property at auction in fall 2020. Kohan paid about $17 million — a fraction of the $64.2 million owed. Previous owner CBL properties filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The new owner supports the city’s Center Village vision and will consider some residential development as well as a “more diverse and creative retail mix,” Reznick wrote. Kohan Retail Investment Group is known for buying and repurposing troubled malls.

“I believe that if you’re stagnant with respect to one of these types of properties, then you’re asking for it to go down just the way it went down with the prior owners, not necessarily faulting them for anything,” Reznick told the commission from Florida via Zoom. “But I think you need to be active and creative with these types of properties.”
City officials have stressed the importance of housing in the Center Village concept. Reznick said mixed-use development with multifamily housing “will work very well over there,” but the shuttered Sears site on the east side of the mall, with its vast unused parking, may be the best place to build apartments.

Seritage Growth Properties owns the Sears property. Macy’s and JCPenney also own their properties.

Perhaps his company and Seritage could put some land together for housing, Reznick suggested.

“I just think it’s a no-brainer for somebody to scoop up the Sears and the other acreage and create something really interesting and creative here for some really good livable space — maybe garden-style apartments, maybe something with a little more density,” Reznick said.

Housing next to the mall would “help the mall tremendously,” he said.
Commissioners noted the public’s keen interest in the future of Burnsville Center.

It generates “nostalgia” and “excitement about what could eventually come,” Commissioner Robert Timmerman said.

“This is going to get people in Burnsville excited. … I’d love to see you or representatives for your organization really out selling this, too,” he told Reznick.