Waterbury mall and neighboring shopping center sells for $44.9M


The massive Brass Mill Center mall and the neighboring Brass City Commons shopping complex have sold to a New York investor for a combined $44.9 million.

Both shopping centers were built in 1997 following a federally funded $36 million cleanup of what was a large industrial complex in the heart of Waterbury used by brass industry giant Scovill Manufacturing. 

The mall had been failing in recent years, losing anchor tenants including Sears and Macy’s and seeing dwindling foot traffic. The Commons performed significantly better in terms of shopping traffic, with anchor stores including Dick’s Sporting Goods, T.J. Maxx and Michaels. Although considerably smaller, the Commons sold for millions more than the mall. 

A limited liability company tied to Brookfield Properties, of Chicago, sold the mall and neighboring shopping center to two limited liability holding companies whose principal is Mehran Kohansieh, a real estate investor with offices in Great Neck, New York.

Kohansieh’s company, Kohan Realty Group, owns 52 malls and shopping centers in addition to the Waterbury properties, according to its website. Attempts to reach a representative at the company were not immediately successful Wednesday.

The Brass Mill Center mall is divided into two Union Street properties, at 475 and 525 Union St., with a combined 907,612 square feet of buildings on 45.8 acres. Combined, these properties sold for $18.9 million.

The Brass Mill Commons shopping plaza, at 235 Union St., hosts several buildings with 196,496-square-feet of combined building space on 19.2 acres. This property sold for $26 million.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said the mall and associated shopping center had been an enormous boon for the city when it opened in 1997, cleaning pollution and failing industrial buildings from a large swath of the city center. It became one of the city’s largest taxpayers and employers. 

But, O’Leary said, the mall’s failing health has been a topic of discussion since he took office in 2011. 

“Now we know they just couldn’t sustain with that business model,” O’Leary said. “They sold it for what we feel is a very reduced price.” 

Now, O’Leary has a different concern — what will become of the massive property. O’Leary said Wednesday he has had no discussions with Kohansieh, although the developer/investor has pledged to meet with city officials soon. 

Attempts by the Hartford Business Journal to reach Kohansieh were not immediately successful. 

“He assured us he is looking forward to sitting with city officials and talking about best uses for the property going forward,” O’Leary said. “We are happy to have a seat at the table, happy to figure out the best uses for the site.” 





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