Free rent hopes to revive Sterling’s Northland Mall

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 11:42 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

STERLING, Ill. (KWQC) -The Northland Mall in Sterling, Illinois is bringing in new tenets by offering free rent.

When Nashville-based Brookwood Capital Advisors acquired the Northland mall earlier this year, 13 storefronts were vacant. Now all are filled except for one.

The new owners are bringing the mall back to life by offering up to six months of free rent.

Brookwood Capital Director of Leasing, Lydia Chernitsky Hamd said the company’s goal isn’t to line its pockets. Instead, they want to see a full mall, even if it means taking a six-month hit.

“We know that the value of bringing in different businesses in will really increase ... the value of the whole shopping center,” Chernitsky Hamd said. “Whereas if we were really stingy in the beginning, it’d be much more difficult to get people in.”

With Sterling being equidistant to bigger communities like Rockford or the Quad Cities, Kris Noble, Executive Director of the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce said keeping a rural mall alive is huge for the local economy.

“We want to keep tax dollars here, we want people to spend their money here. And then these are the organizations that support our not for profits, they support our schools. So it’s kind of like coming full circle.”

Janet and June Boutique had locations in Rock Falls and Walnut. Owner Sarah Bohm stumbled across the promotion for free rent on Facebook. She said it’s was time for her to consolidate her stores.

“A year ago, if you would have told me that I was going to be at the mall, I would have wouldn’t have even believed you,” Bohm said. “It’s so nice because this is so different ... It’s nice to have all of us revamp the mall with small businesses. It’s a whole different vibe. Like it’s really exciting to be a part of.”

Meanwhile, Jackie Payne has owned Bushel Basket Candle Company in the Northland Mall for 14 years. She’s taking up the offer for free rent to open her second business, The Toy Store.

Payne said she’s seen both big box stores and mom and pops come and go.

“Stores like Bergner’s … they were around for 100 years, and they went out but they started little. So to start little again, you don’t know which one of these great stores is going to end up being the next big chain.”

Brookwood capital is also hoping smaller start-up businesses will take advantage of the open kiosks in the mall.

Copyright 2022 KWQC. All rights reserved.