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New York-Based Investment Group With Spotty History Buys Holiday Village Mall

The new owner of Havre’s Holiday Village Mall is the Kohan Retail Investment Group of Great Neck, New York.

According to owner Mike Kohan, the company paid $475,000 for the beleaguered mall.

The 24-acre property went up for auction late in September with a starting bid price of $250,000. Official records say Kohan Retail became the owner on Nov. 1.

Kohan, also known as Mehran Kohansieh, has a very conventional plan for the mall’s rejuvenation: to bring in new tenants and keep the existing retailers happy, he told the Herald Wednesday.

According to the company’s website, Kohan Retail believes malls are places for more than just shopping.

“They are social settings where people interact with one another and small businesses can get a boost in a public and well-trafficked platform,” a statement on the company’s website says. “Large spaces offer opportunity for fundraising events, festivals, farmers markets, miniature golf, dancing, concerts, banquets, theatre, and virtually any social gathering all under one roof with protection from the elements. “

Kohan, who owns several malls across the country, has not visited his new Havre property and has no plans to do so in the winter.

“It’s too cold,” he said. He’ll probably do so in the future, in warmer temperatures, he added.

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Kohan claims to bring a do-it-yourself approach to mall management.

For a short time, the previous mall owners, Security National Properties, hired the commercial real estate investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle to manage the property. Under Kohan Retail’s ownership, JLL is already out.

“We’re going to be hands-on,” Kohan said, adding he’s eyeing a local broker to get involved in mall operations.

Kohan’s property portfolio lists malls in various states across the country, although none in Montana. Much of the company’s portfolio is made up of distressed commercial properties. Kohan dubbed the Havre property as “just another project.”

According to multiple news stories written about the company, Kohan’s ownership hasn’t always proved copacetic with communities.

“In the past, Kohan Retail Investment has been subject to lawsuits and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes and bills,” a Michigan business news outlet reported earlier this year. “The heat was turned off at one of his malls in St. Louis, and the lights went out at one in New York after an electricity bill went unpaid.”

A Massachusetts news outlet reported that “Kohan’s malls shut down intermittently and without warning,” and at “other properties, taxes and utility bills go unpaid.”

When the Herald asked him about the reported misdealings, Kohan had a few responses:

“Sometimes, these challenging malls will weigh on us,” he said, adding his company has paid bills late.

Yet, Kohan said, they’ve never let the electricity go out on a property and that some newspapers were just looking for stories to write.

The Holiday Village Mall, like many malls across the country, has had a very hard go recently.

Within the last two years, it’s lost all of its anchor stores– Sears Hometown Stores, Herberger’s, and most recently, North 40 Outfitters.

And it looks like the bleeding continues. On Nov. 6, Claire’s in Holiday Village Mall announced on Facebook it was closing. A store representative confirmed the store was closing. The young adult jewelry and accessories brand filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 in an attempt to relieve its debt.

As for Holiday Village Mall, Kohan said he’s excited about being in this part of the country and happy to be in the community. His goal is to bring good things from his ownership, and to make the mall an asset to the community.

“We’re committed and we’re going to do whatever it takes to make the community happy,” Kohan said.


Email Paul Dragu at (406) 262-7778
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