Ford City Mall hits market 5 years after iStar seized it from Zell

The nearly 1M-sf Chicago mall lost several anchor stores in recent years, leaving embattled JCPenney as last department store

Ford City Mall at 7601 South Cicero Avenue (Credit: Wikipedia)
Ford City Mall at 7601 South Cicero Avenue (Credit: Wikipedia)

iStar Financial looking to sell the Ford City Mall on the Southwest Side, five years after seizing it from Sam Zell.

The New York-based lender hired JLL to list the nearly 1 million-square-foot mall, which is about 30 percent vacant, according to Crain’s.

Zell bought the mall at 7601 South Cicero Avenue in 1987 for $75 million but couldn’t make it successful, giving it up to iStar in 2012 through deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, according to Crain’s. The new owner launched a major renovation of the property after taking it over.

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The mall lost its Sears and Montgomery Ward stores under Zell’s watch and lost a Carson’s anchor last year, leaving embattled JCPenney as its only department store.

Ford City’s struggles are not unique. A CBRE report from last year put the Chicago-area retail vacancy rate at its highest level in eight years.

The collapse of a number of national chains and the subsequent closure of thousands of stores across the country have put pressure on retail landlords, especially mall owners. That’s led shopping center landlords to get creative in their efforts to fill space, turning to nontraditional uses like large fitness centers, apartments and co-working spaces on their properties. [Crain’s] — John O’Brien