ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Kohan Retail Investment Group, a New York company that owns 32 other indoor malls, confirmed Tuesday it bought Ashtabula Towne Square and plans to add tenants as soon as possible.

“We plan to increase traffic and add tenants,” said Mike Kohan, president of Kohan Retail, which is based in Great Neck, Long Island in New York. He said the sale price was $10.2 million.

According to Ashtabula County Auditor David Thomas, the title was transferred on Tuesday.

“The property transferred for real estate value at $10.2 million,” Thomas said. “This is just real taxable property, not personal or other exchanged value. The conveyance transfer was roughly $41,000.”

Kohan said he believes malls are places for more than just shopping and plans to add events, as well as tenants.

“We have many ideas on the table now to approach prospective tenants,” he said. 

Kohan bought the property from Sure Fire Group, LLC, an Ohio Domestic Limited Liability Co. The managing member on file for the company is Kenneth A. Kister of Ashtabula. He has said four different local groups share ownership.

Sure Fire Group bought the mall for $6.1 million in October 2014 from Morgan Stanley Capital I Inc.

In the past six years, Kister has brought in Planet Fitness, University Hospitals Health Center and Urgent Care, La Casa de Frida Mexican Restaurant, Radio Shack and more stores to the mall. He also built a road connecting the mall to Wal-Mart, allowing motorists to avoid busy traffic on Route 20.

Kohan praised Kister for his handling of this sale.

“He was an angel,” Kohan said.

Kister said the sale is best for the community.

“We felt we got it moving in the right direction,” he said. “Our goal was to keep it open.”

Ashtabula Township Trustee Joseph Pete said he’s very excited about the purchase. He heard about the sale from several tenants, who just got written notices from Kister describing the sale.

“Hopefully they’ll make it a huge success,” said Bambi Paulchel, also a member of the Board of Trustees.

Ashtabula Towne Square opened 28 years ago as the Ashtabula Mall. It was a popular shopping destination for local residents. It has the capacity for 70 stores, plus a food court, and a six-screen movie theater.

Kohan’s property portfolio lists malls across the country, including malls in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Maine, Michigan, Alabama, Pennsylvania and more. Much of the company’s portfolio is made up of distressed commercial properties.

As for Ashtabula Towne Square, Kohan said he hasn’t had an opportunity to visit Ashtabula, but he’s excited about owning property here. His goal is to bring good things from his ownership, and to make the mall an asset to the community, he said.

“We’re committed and we’re going to do whatever it takes to make the community happy,” Kohan said. “We welcome new tenants and will work to accommodate them.”

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