The top bid for the Orchards Mall in Benton Harbor today has come in at $2.1-million dollars. The question remains, however…will Michael Kohan sell for that figure, and who was the top bidder?
The 9-day delay from the original planned auction day to this morning saw the facility’s water and sewer service disconnected last Thursday, and electrical service was terminated briefly this morning before the mall opened for business for the day. In both cases, delinquent bills led to discontinuation of service. Also in both cases, Kohan produced the overdue monies to return the mall to service for the community.
Early bidding was virtually non-existent today until the final hour approached. Over the course of some 45 minutes or so, the bid period was extended by anywhere from 2 and a half to five minutes as new bids arrived in the final seconds of each countdown. In the final analysis there were nearly twenty bids registered, but there was no way to tell how many bidders were active in that final countdown.
As the clock would reset for each three-minute or longer period, the countdown clock would make it all the way to a second or two before a new bid would stave off the end of the battle.
Early bidders had to top one another by at least $100,000 according to the auction rules, but that was eventually dropped to a minimum increase of $25k per bid and there were at least six bids that changed hands at the $25k increase until the final bid of $2.1-million was registered.
That figure, however, did not meet Kohan’s self-imposed reserve of around $2.5-million. He holds the cards and can accept the offer, reject it, or negotiate with the high bidder if he wishes. He has 30-days to respond to the offer.
Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland watched the process closely and says, “The bids reiterate what we believe, and what we’ve said all along; that there’s value in the Orchards Mall property. The Township (Benton Township) believes this, as do Cornerstone Alliance and other developers we’ve talked and met with.” He adds, “We are eager to work with a developer or owner that’s as excited about the potential as we are.”
Once the auction concluded, the real estate site posted this comment:
This property is in escrow. Once escrow has been closed, the auction details will be made available upon request.
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The more than 625,000 square foot center was taken over by Kohan’s Retail Investment Group out of Great Neck, New York which purchased it nearly four years ago. The mall was built 39 years ago in 1979.
Kohan purchased the Orchards Mall in December of 2014 from Sequoia Investments of Eureka, California for an undisclosed price. At the time of his purchase, the Benton Township property marked the 14th center in his investment portfolio. The 60-acre mall site in Benton Charter Township is still home to anchor J.C. Penney, JoAnn Fabrics, Zales Jewelers, Bath & Body Works, Orchards Antiques and Such, Slacker’s Family Fun Center, Dave Carlock’s Funkin’ Rock School, Kustom Tattooz, Dr. ZZZZ’Z Mattress Center, Blessed Kneads Massage Therapy, Hippie Haven, the U.S. Post Office, the new Sarriola S. Shoe store which just opened this week, and other shops and organizations.