After five years, Kohan group puts Harlingen’s Valle Vista Mall back on the block

HARLINGEN — Valle Vista Mall, purchased by the Kohan Retail Investment Group in 2018, is back on the market.

The Kohan group, specialists in buying and improving distressed mall properties, bought the ailing mall property for $12.5 million. The company has listed it now for $12 million.

Felix Reznick, a partner with the Kohan group, said Wednesday the company is “not giving up on Harlingen, but I just don’t have too many comments at this point.”

A ‘for lease’ sign is posted on a former department store at Valle Vista Mall Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in Harlingen. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

“It’s a strategic move to sell it,” he added. “We did sell the two boxes (the mall’s major store sites). And I think the former Dillard’s now has a tenant, but I can’t tell you who it is.”

“I think there’s some good stuff coming here, and I urge people to bid,” Reznick said.

Daniel Galvan, a Coldwell Banker commercial broker based in McAllen, is handling the sale.

The Kohan group has purchased more than 20 malls nationwide, with a business plan to improve those properties and stabilize them financially.

When the Kohan group purchased Valle Vista, the vacancy rate was around 25 percent. It now stands at 15 percent.

Despite that improvement, the mall may well be in financial trouble.

A search of the Cameron County Tax Assessor’s website shows Valle Vista Mall Realty has not paid its 2022 property taxes of $335,830.76.

Valle Vista Mall is pictured Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in Harlingen. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

In addition, the owners have been assessed a penalty fee with interest that stands at $23,508.79 as of Wednesday.

Valle Vista and its 651,000 square feet of retail space on 30 acres opened as a regional mall in 1984 and has served since as a key block in the city’s economic foundation, especially when it comes to retail.

In 2017, unable to sell the Harlingen mall, Washington Prime Group decided to dump the property back on the lenders who had financed its sale with a loan of $40 million. Washington Prime Group still owed $27 million.

At that point, management of the mall was taken up by ProEquity Asset Management Corp. before the sale to the Kohan group.