We reported back in December that the Kathryn’s Hallmark in Riverbirch Corner would leave for the nearby Spring Lane Galleria and that the new location would be open “sometime in January,” and while that hasn’t quite come to pass as of late February, we can report some movement in that direction.

In addition to “coming soon” signage on the storefront at 866 Spring Lane, The Rant has learned that a permit was issued on Jan. 29 for renovations to that address:

When the move was first announced back in November, a representative of the store said in response to a Facebook user comment that “the plaza owner does no upkeep, so we eat that cost too.”

Riverbirch Corner, built in 1985, has been the subject of complaints for some time now. It was sold in late 2017 and earlier this year faced civil penalties from the city over a failure to perform upkeep on various items like potholes and street lights. The shopping center’s JCPenney shut down in July.

According to the North Carolina Secretary of State website, Igal Namdar of Great Neck, New York is Riverbirch Realty’s executive officer; this Reuters story from 2018 reveals Namdar and his company as one of two with “about 100 malls from New York to Utah now under their ownership” and that allegedly “invest as little as possible on many of their properties.” From the story:

Namdar and Mason typically spend 20 to 50 cents per square foot on maintenance. This compares to an average of about 60 cents per square foot that U.S. mall owners spent on mall upkeep in the first quarter of 2018 among malls that reported square feet for the period, according to National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries.

Namdar and Mason have spent so little on the malls they have acquired, they often yield a 10 to 16 percent capitalization rate, a gauge of the investment’s rate of return, according to real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield’s head of capital markets Mark Gilbert.

This tops last year’s average U.S. mall capitalization rate of 5.4 percent, and even the 9 percent rate mall owners enjoyed on average in their 1990s heyday, according to real estate research firm GreenStreet.