A national real estate investment trust based in Ohio has purchased the Southgate Mall in Missoula for $58 million, the company announced this week.

The Washington Prime Group, located in Columbus, bought the property from Southgate Mall Associates, whose principals include George and Dan Lambros, Bill Blair and the family of the late Bonnie Hamilton.

Rumors of a potential sale had been circulating for months, though Southgate Mall Associates had failed to return multiple calls on the issue seeking comment.

News of the sale was announced by Washington Prime, which expects to close on the sale during the second quarter of this year. The company completed due diligence on Feb. 21 and plans to fund the transaction with a combination of proceeds gained from other transactions.

“Southgate Mall is the dominant town center in Missoula and the largest retail center in western Montana, comprising a significant catchment area that extends 130 miles,” the company stated in its most recent fiscal analysis. “The hybrid asset, with both enclosed and open air tenants, comprises approximately 632,000 square feet of gross leasable area.”

The company noted a “dynamic mix” of retail and entertainment amenities, including the new AMC dine-in theater, which opens Monday, and the planned opening of Lucky's Market.

The new additions to the mall come nearly three years after Peter Lambros first unveiled the mall's plans for a multi-phase redevelopment project. Southgate Mall Associates sought and received nearly $7 million from the Missoula Redevelopment Agency for the construction of Mary Avenue to aid in the property's redevelopment.

Upon receiving that funding, Lambros had said said the mall's owners were committed long-term to the community. Southgate Mall Associates had kept its planned sale of the mall under wraps and didn't return calls over the past few months regarding rumors of the sale.

The property was constructed in 1978 and renovated in the late 1990s. It's now in the process of being redeveloped into a mix of uses with an initial cost of $71 million.

In asking for funding from the Missoula Redevelopment Agency to begin the work, Lambros had said future projects would include housing, retail and additional infill as the mall transitions to something of an urban center.