“We understand the need for a vibrant city like Rome to have a prosperous enclosed mall, and Mount Berry Square mall has the potential to become a regional fashion destination serving Rome and the surrounding areas,” said Jim Hull, managing partner of Hull Storey Gibson Companies. “We plan to invest the time and capital needed to improve the shopping experience for the mall’s customers.”
According to the company’s website, Hull Storey Gibson owns 20 other malls. The 476,778 square foot Mount Berry Square expands Hull Storey Gibson’s total retail gross leasable area to more than 13 million square feet.
“We take a very hands-on approach to ownership and we want to become an engaged member of the community,” said John Gibson, managing partner of Hull Storey Gibson Companies. “We are looking forward to learning more about Rome and working with community leaders and regional stakeholders to strengthen the retail offerings in Rome and better meet the needs of the area’s growing population.”
Frankie Ford, the longtime manager at Maurices in the mall, said she was excited about the sale.
“To actually have owners, I think they will put a little more effort into getting people out here,” Ford said.
She added that she was particularly hopeful that the new owners could attract business to the other end of the mall, near Sears, where there are a number of vacancies.
Originally incorporated as Hull Properties Inc. 35 years ago, the company became Hull/Storey Development LLC in 1993, and then changed its name to Hull Storey Gibson Companies LLC in 2008. The privately held company specializes solely in retail properties.
According to the company’s website, it seeks to acquire properties with at least 300,000 square feet in smaller markets that do not have enclosed mall competition within a 20 mile radius. The company owns properties from the Carolinas to Texas.
At one time, the Macon Mall sprawled over more than a million square feet, however, the east wing of the mall is being demolished to downsize the shopping center. The Hull Storey Gibson malls in Statesboro, Milledgeville and LaGrange are each roughly half the size of the Mount Berry Square shopping center.
The company self-manages its entire retail portfolio and will handle the leasing, property management, construction and redevelopment of Mount Berry Square. Former manager James Dolan and Specialty Leasing Coordinator Carole Hunter were not retained.