Beleaguered Buffalo mall rescued by small-mall redeveloper

Kohan Retail Investment Group has acquired McKinley Mall in Hamburg, N.Y., for a sale price of $8.5 million.
Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
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Kohan Retail acquires the McKinley Mall in suburban Buffalo for $8.5 million.

A suburban Buffalo mall that has been involved in a foreclosure process for the past three years is about to be revived by a company that specializes in acquiring troubled small-market malls at low cost and investing in their revivals.

Long Island-based Kohan Retail Investment Group has acquired McKinley Mall in Hamburg, N.Y., for a sale price of $8.5 million, but has so far paid only a non-refundable deposit of around $2 million.

“The buyer got a pretty fair deal in my estimation,” Hamburg town supervisor Jim Shaw told the Buffalo News.

Hamburg municipal officials have been eager to keep McKinley Mall alive. Just last month the Town Board approved a zoning law that expands the property’s C-2 retail zoning to more mixed uses in order to expand the categories of tenants that would be allowed to do business there.

The standard website used for Kohan’s 42 malls across the United States puts forth a community center theme.

“It's the warmth of a community that keeps us wanting to do more to make your shopping experience special,” says the homepage message. “If you are interested in opening a shop or hosting an event at the mall, please contact us; we'd love to hear from you!” 

Kohan’s stated mission is to have its malls focus on local small- and medium-sized businesses and be used for “fundraising events, festivals, farmers markets, miniature golf, dancing, banquets, and virtually any social gathering all under one roof with protection from the elements.”

Most of its malls, however, are propped by popular national brands. Burnsville Center in Minnesota, for instance, houses J.C. Penney, Aeropostale, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kay Jewelers, Rue21, Footlocker, and Hot Topic.

The McKinley Mall deal still needs approval from the New York State Supreme Court, and the Town of Hamburg has requested friend-of-the-court status allowing it to participate in the court proceedings while the sale is finalized.

"We're aspirational. We want to see the mall reborn under a new vision," Shaw said.