Before departing from this topic, here is a trove of facts, significantly fewer than I actually have cataloged, to close the books on the evanescent mirage of River City Renaissance. Burnett, self-aggrandizing theatrics is certainly your style. Yet one wonders how you can still be so myopic to the big picture?
You can do something, or you can continue to ignore reality. Tomorrow comes either way.
At the peak in 1995, there were approximately 1,900 enclosed retail malls in the U.S., 1,000 more than retail demand ever warranted.
Today, there remains roughly 1,100. Of the 800 that are no more, 600 have been demolished. The hard, cold truths imposed on local governments are that they all waited far too long to save theirs.
Malls are graded for lenders and investors as Classes A, B, C or D. Class A malls will continue to be immune to the crises of mall closures if properly managed. An example of a Class A is Mall of America.
Class B malls are regional hub malls. Depending on population density, they draw customers from a radius of 60 miles or less. This defines Southbridge Mall although based on current ownership and occupancy, a Class C rating exists.
Class C and D malls representing 40 percent of today's remaining mall structures can best be described as dead malls, one example being the deserted Outlet Mall at Story City. This mall is still shown in the property portfolio of Kohan Retail Group even though it no longer owns it.
DES MOINES -- A familiar name is back in the picture as Mason City attempts to move forward with its downtown River City Renaissance Project.
By 2024 of the surviving malls in categories B, C, and D, 60 percent – or 396 – will be eliminated by some economic crises or physical blight, mostly coming from classes C and D.
Nearly all surviving malls by 2024 will be held by premium owners, such as publicly traded REITs, or real estate investment trusts, or publicly owned companies, both of which are traded on a stock exchange such as NYSE or NASDAQ and are infinitely more regulated than private ownership such as Kohan.
Of the remaining 660 class B, C and D malls today, over 300 (46 percent) are currently and/or previously owned by private investors all headquartered within two miles of each other in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. This is the home turf of Mike Kohan and is also one of the most affluent populations in the U.S. The nine villages that make up Great Neck Peninsula have a total population of 40,000.
Every time these malls have changed hands in this nationwide shell game, new and former owners, happy residents of Great Neck one and all, get richer and the public and their communities lose every single time.
It matters not, precisely where the Great Neck riches come from, be it banks foreign or domestic, mortgage write-downs, new mortgages, tax evasion or outside investors, (i.e. "new chumps"), the American taxpayers always pay.
Even worse, the communities who built these malls over the last 50-plus years are always the last to realize, that their mall and their community, are already dead.
One final Mike Kohan tidbit for your consumption: Of the 26 Class B, C and D regional malls claimed by Kohan Retail Group, scattered across the country in 20 states, total unpaid and delinquent real estate taxes, as of today equals, $7,051,293.
The delinquencies stretch back over 10 years. The total does not include malls Kohan no longer owns, those taken back by their communities using eminent domain laws, resold to the Great Neck mafia for recycling or those where he simply walked away from the corpse.
I continue to be bumfuddled about why Mason City government will not step up and demand that everything stolen from us by this organized criminal enterprise be made whole again by whatever means available.
Integrity, pride, identity, future, or money, they are all worthy of a demonstration of backbone, don't you think Mayor Schickel and councilmen?
J.W. Sayles is a retired university professor and U.S. Treasury agent and also a veteran of the Vietnam War. He lives in Mason City.