Forest Fair Future Cincinnati's most empty mall looking for buyers

Built in 1989 as a luxury retail center, the 90-acre Forest Fair Mall property is being offered at $55 million by the Cincinnati office of Newmark Knight Frank.
The mall has 1.9 million square feet under roof. That's 3.7 times the office space in Carew Tower. It's big enough to fit 16 Kroger Marketplace stores or 126 Moerlein Lager House restaurants.
The mall has been mostly empty since 2010, when New York investor World Properties Inc. bought it for $4.7 million, according to Hamilton County records.
A Christian TV and movie production company has offered to buy the property but the offer is still being vetted, said John Thompson, managing director for retail investment services in the Cincinnati office of Newmark Knight Frank.
A second offer is expected this month from a warehouse/distribution developer. Others expressing interest include a California-based business incubator and an Asian investor that participates in the U.S. Government's EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
Amazon, Apple and FC Cincinnati have all been pitched on redevelopment ideas for the site, said Chris Nachtrab, who works with Thompson at NKF. Amazon "looked at it." But none are seen as likely buyers at this point.
Meantime, about 18 percent of the mall is occupied by active tenants, including Bass Pro Shops, Kohl's, Babies "R" Us and Active Bee Adventure Zone.
A popular spot for mall walkers, General Manager Delmer Helton said Forest Fair is "still alive and kicking" with regular maintenance, security patrols and a Black Friday visit by Santa Claus every year.
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