Southgate Mall owner announces closure of JCPenney, property redevelopment

JCPenney on Friday announced its plans to close its Southgate Mall location in Missoula this April, marking the third anchor tenant to vacate the property over the last five years.

Washington Prime Group said in a press release that it plans to execute an agreement to gain control of the JCPenney property for future redevelopment.

Washington Prime is located in Columbus, Ohio, and wasn’t available for further comment. It purchased the mall in 2018 for $58 million. Its press release was issued after 5 p.m. on a Friday.

The company said it plans to make an announcement in the near future regarding its efforts to redevelop the property. Those efforts are expected to begin later this year.

“Prior to the JCPenney closing announcement, Washington Prime Group, the owner of Southgate Mall, executed an agreement to gain control of the JCPenney site for future redevelopment,” the statement read. “The Company plans to make an announcement in the near future regarding these redevelopment efforts, which are expected to kick off in 2020.”

The company’s press release said it was committed to reinvesting in Southgate Mall and maintaining its presence as a gathering place in Missoula. But the loss of JCPenney, one of the mall’s anchor tenants, follows the closure of Sears and Herbergers in past years.

Efforts to redevelop the Sears property are underway, though mall officials have not said who plans to move in.

Before Southgate Mall Associates sold the facility to Washington Prime in 2018, it had developed plans for portions of the mall and surrounding property, including future housing and amenities, and road network.

In those plans, JCPenney was disconnected from the mall for a new north-south road.