Equity fund buying Northgate Mall from founding family

December 15, 2018

The Rand family, which built Northgate Mall in Durham, in the late 1950s, has agreed to sell the struggling center to a private equity fund.

Northwood Investors, which purchased the Sears at Northgate and owns other investments in Durham and North Carolina, will assume control of the mall. The fund bought the mortgage on the mall over the summer, and it recently threatened foreclosure because the longtime owners weren’t keeping up on their payments.

“This transfer of ownership does not mean the mall is going out of business,” Virginia Rand Bowman said in a statement. “Scheduled events and promotional activities will continue throughout December, and Northgate merchants will serve their customers as in any other holiday season.”

Following the closure of Macy’s as an anchor tenant last year, the mall has tried to reinvent itself, leasing out space as offices and hosting a farmers market and community events to attract customers.

“With the dramatic changes in the retail landscape across the U.S. and the rapid growth of the Durham community, Northgate too needs to be a part of that transformation, and Northwood has the resources to make the necessary dramatic changes to the overall development of the property,” Bowman said.

“This is the end of a legacy for the Rand family,” she said. “Northgate Associates has supported the community through its retail operations and as a major contributor to the Durham community through philanthropic endeavors, community events and partnerships with a variety of local businesses and nonprofit organizations.

“The Rand family will deeply miss its place at the heart of the Durham retail community.”

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