Free rent? New mall owner hopes to fill in the gaps | Company

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Joseph Huang is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, which can be expensive. But he invests in Emporia and makes an offer as cheap as possible.

“We offer free rent, up to six months,” Huang said this week.

Phillips Edison sold Emporia West Plaza at 1312 Industrial Road to Huang’s Synergize Ventures within the past six months. Although the sale price is not known, Lyon County records indicate that its estimated value is $3.067 million.

While Huang says the mall is “alive and well,” he hopes to renovate and energize it by offering rental discounts.

“We want to help businesses get started,” he said. Rent free offer is negotiable with a long term lease.

The mall has several established businesses. Ichiban is at one end. Tractor Supply Company is on the other. Dollar General and Rent-A-Center, among others, are in between.

“We have four spaces left,” Huang said, including a restaurant. “We have a few regional mom-and-pop tenants who are doing very well.”

Emporia West was built in 1980. It gained a futuristic tenant in 2020 when Tesla installed electric charging stations there. T Mobile recently opened a store there.

A challenge for Huang is finding a business to fill the void Aldi left behind for its standalone store further down Industrial Road.

“We talked to a few potential grocers,” he said. He declined to reveal names as space remains available. But Dillons had a store in Emporia West years ago.

Huang added that recent interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve Bank are unlikely to affect his job in the near term.

“We’re here for the long haul,” he said.

Synergize Ventures has investments and projects from coast to coast. After the sale of Emporia West, Phillips Edison still owns three malls on the Kansas side of greater Kansas City.

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