The Day – Macy’s at Crystal Mall has been sold

Waterford — Nine months after the store closed, the owners of the Macy’s property at the Crystal

Waterford — Nine months after the store closed, the owners of the Macy’s property at the Crystal Mall sold it on Oct. 12 to CRJ Waterford LLC, a Tennessee limited liability company, for $4 million.

The property comprises 120,680 square feet of the 783,300-square-foot mall, including a portion of the mall’s parking. Six separate corporate entities own the mall property. 

Town Planning Director Abby Piersall said the new owners of the Macy’s property have not filed any plans for what they intend to do with it.

Piersall said nothing has been decided but the town is working on a “central vision” for the mall, attempting to collaborate with the different owners and developers there.

According to town records, Simon Property Group, which has owned the mall for decades, owns the largest portion of the mall which includes the interior, venues for the stores and most of the surrounding land. As separate corporate entities, Simon also owns roughly 88,710 square feet of where the JCPenny store is and 66,000 square feet where the Christmas Tree Shop and Bed, Bath & Beyond are located.

The Sears property, closed in 2018, is owned by Seritage Growth Properties, leaving Macy’s as the only other property not owned by Simon as of now.

Shaping the future of the mall is proving to be a challenge for the town, especially when it lies in the hands of multiple entities.

Piersall said the town can’t dictate what evidently gets done at the mall, but it can act as “the bridge” between developers and the community, crafting land use regulations that would meet the needs of both parties.

First Selectman Rob Brule said he has heard ideas from many residents on what they would and would not like to see at the mall. Beyond that, he said the town is looking into how the property could best serve as “a regional asset.”

Piersall said the town has applied for a grant through the federal Economic Development Administration to conduct a study that would analyze the property and “look at the regional economic opportunities and impacts of redevelopment at the Crystal Mall.”

She said the study would generate data and proposed regulations to support the property’s future. The data would then be accessible to the mall developers and the town’s land use commissions as well as the public.

Despite the challenges, Peirsall and Brule said they are “excited” about the prospects of the mall.

“We’re looking into what is going to stand against time,” Piersall said.

She said the planning department would be likely to support some level of a mixed-use property, seeing that is the common trend for malls that have been redeveloped.

It is too early to tell what Crystal Mall would include as a mixed-use property since its developers have yet to propose anything or request permits and approvals from the town’s various land use commissions.

The process could take years.

Brule said the goal for one day redeveloping the mall is to maximize the tax return and put Waterford in “a good place for generations to come.”