Iowa City's Sycamore Mall secures new financing, out of foreclosure

Von Maur closure coming up in July

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Sycamore Mall is no longer in foreclosure after the Iowa City shopping center secured new financing.

The mall announced Tuesday it has a new loan with Great Western Bank, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., and with a branch in North Liberty. Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed on the mall property in October, on behalf of the mortgage holder, Prudential Mortgage Capital Co.

Sycamore Mall General Manager Kirk White said he had alerted Prudential that Great Western was interested in doing a loan with the mall before the foreclosure was filed.

“It was unfortunate, and I know it raised a lot of eyebrows,” White said. “But as I indicated back in October, I knew this loan would get done and get closed.

"It was just a matter of time.”

White said the new loan is a “win-win” for the mall and Great Western, which opened its first location in the Corridor last summer. The terms of the loan will allow the mall to better address its capital needs and other financial objectives, he added.

“Great Western’s familiar with the mall, and they’re familiar with the market,” White said.

“It’s to their benefit for the mall to succeed. They understand the concept that if the mall does well, they do well and the whole community does well.”

Von Maur, the largest tenant at the mall, is planning to close its store in July. White said several inquiries have been made about the space, and some initial information has been shared with prospective tenants. Now that the new loan is secured, White said his top priority is filling the Von Maur space.

“There might be the possibility where we create two or three spaces out of Von Maur, if that’s what it takes to get that entire space leased up,” White said. “We’re looking at whether that’s feasible and whether that makes sense.”

H&R Block and Title Boxing Club opened locations in the mall in October. Both are doing “extremely well,” White said, and several other tenants have renewed their leases in recent months.

The new loan should give prospective tenants more confidence, he said.

“When you can tell people that we’ve got new financing for the mall, and it’s set for a number of years, that’s just one less thing that people have to worry about,” White said. “They know the mall is financially secure for the foreseeable future.”

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