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Gainesville mall sells for $6.8 million in online auction

GAINESVILLE - Lakeshore Mall sold for $6.8 million in a digital auction that ended Wednesday, said a source familiar with the process.

Plus, there’s an added charge that will increase that amount by 5 percent at closing, the source said.

The buyer’s name isn’t known. And Loopnet, an online commercial real estate site that advertised the auction, says just that the property was auctioned at 2 p.m. EST.

The starting bid for the 490,979-square-foot mall was $1.75 million, Loopnet states.

Mall officials declined to comment ahead of the auction.

“We don’t have a statement regarding that,” said a person who answered the phone at the mall office.

The mall, which also borders Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53, has had several owners through the years. Garrison Lakeshore Owners LLC is the current owner, according to Hall County records.

Garrison has committed nearly $21 million to redeveloping the mall since it was bought for $6.5 million in 2010. Dick’s Sporting Goods, which opened in 2013, is the mall’s newest anchor, its construction resulting in a separate building from the rest of the mall.

Tim Evans, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of economic development, recently called Lakeshore Mall “a great redevelopment opportunity.”

“It’s ground zero for a great retail site,” he said.

Fifty years “is a long, long time for any retail center to be operating,” Evans said. “They often have a lifespan of 20-25 years before they have to be completely redeveloped. And there are many parts of that mall that are original to the development 50 years ago.”

Despite its age, the mall is in a good place physically.

It “represents (one) end of … the largest retail corridor in the region,” Evans said.

The mall also is part of a tax allocation district, or an area where increases in property taxes resulting from new growth are invested in redevelopment projects.

A few years ago, Garrison had sought — and later pulled its request for — nearly $2 million in tax subsidies to support ongoing renovations.