Southshore Mall sold for $1 million

The sale of the SouthShore Mall in Aberdeen has become final, with the new owners paying $1 million, far less than the property’s nearly $6 million assessed value.

Part of the mall and parking lot remains owned by Sears, records show.

The sale was recorded late Thursday afternoon at the Grays Harbor Auditor’s Office. The mall was sold to SouthShore Mall Realty Management LLC. The company was created on Aug. 7, according to filings with the Washington Secretary of State’s Office, and is managed by Mehran Kohansieh of Little Neck, N.Y., located in Queens.

In several media reports online, Kohansieh has been linked with Mike Kohan, who has been introducing himself around the Aberdeen community as part of the investment group that bought the mall. Both have been involved in previous mall sales around the country, mainly foreclosed malls, according to articles published as recently as December.

Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson said he spoke with Kohan on the phone and met personally with another man involved in the purchase. “I told them that when everything was finished, I’d like to get together and figure out how we can be partners to fix the mall,” Simpson said.

The mall purchase consisted of two parcels, according to county records.

The Grays Harbor Assessor’s Office valued one parcel at about $4.5 million — $2.8 million for the building and nearly $1.7 million for the 15.55 acres of land. The other parcel was valued at $1.451 million — $560,000 for the building and $958,320 for the 8.8 acres of land.

Both parcels were sold for $974,969, with the equipment inside the mall costing the new owners an additional $25,031, adding up to a $1 million total price tag. The buyers had to pay $14,922 in real estate excise taxes as well as sales tax on the equipment inside the mall, according to county Treasurer Ron Strabbing.

A recent quarterly report filed by General Growth Properties with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission showed that the mall covers a total of 139,541 square feet.

Of that, 64,796 square feet is owned by Sears and 68,979 square feet had been owned by General Growth Properties before the recent sale. As of June 30, the quarterly report stated that 60.4 percent of the mall was leased.

County Assessor Rick Hole said that the price the buyers paid for the mall will not necessarily be the price they’ll pay taxes on. Hole notes that the mall was last assessed in 2009 and won’t be re-assessed until 2013 for the 2014 tax year. The owners will be expected to pay the nearly $60,000 in taxes on the property, although Hole said the new owners have already contacted his office asking about how to get the assessment lowered.

Hole said that the county will take into account the bankruptcy General Growth Properties declared in 2009 as part of its assessment into whether it played a factor in the sale of the mall.

“When we do a sales analysis, we’re looking for arm-length transactions not pressured by either property,” Hole said. “Property in foreclosures don’t typically come into our analysis. … Although, the state Department of Revenue has told us if the foreclosure market is such a huge percentage of the market, if over 50 percent of the market is in foreclosure, we should at least consider it when setting the values.”