SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Western Mall is officially under new ownership in one of the city’s largest ever-real estate sales.

The $45 million sale was finalized yesterday between longtime owner Bill Hinks and the new local ownership group Sioux Falls Western, LLC.

“I really would like to stay with the mall for another 15 years, I’m getting to the age where it’s half scary,” Hinks said. 

Furniture Mart Founder Bill Hinks has owned the Western Mall since the 1990s.

“It needed so much. The mall was about 40 percent full. All kinds of things to fix and do, and roads to fix,” Hinks said. 

Hinks made those improvements and more, bringing in big national tenants like Best Buy and Scheels under his more than 25 years of ownership and getting the mall up to 98 percent occupancy, even through the pandemic. 

“We have such a great relationship with Bill so to have new ownership coming in, our hope was that it would be somebody local. So that news was really welcome for us, so that we could work face to face with the new owners,” Sioux Falls Scheels Store Leader Dan Hermanson said. 

Now Hinks has officially passed on ownership of the city’s first indoor mall to a new group of local owners.

“The ownership group is five or six local business owners, including myself,” John Barker said. “These are guys that want to invest in the community, that want to see Sioux Falls grow, I think one of the things that Bill was hoping for is he wanted to find a local buyer. A lot of times a property of this size will attract a lot of buyers from east coast or west coast, people that own it that don’t live here. Well, I can tell you, all of the people that own it, they shop in these stores, they eat in these cafes, for us we’re excited to own part of Sioux Falls, to invest back in the community.”

John Barker, the owner of Elgethun Capital Management in Sioux Falls, was the spokesperson for the group of new owners who closed on the $45 million sale of the mall Thursday.

“What are you going to spend it on? I’ll go ahead and answer that. We have a building we’re putting up out on 60th street North,” Hinks said. 

Hinks says he’s reinvesting a large portion of the sale proceeds back into the Furniture Mart USA’s 700,000 square foot Warehouse expansion project currently underway in Sioux Falls. But his central Sioux Falls Furniture Mart will remain one of the Western Mall’s largest tenants.

“There are 50 businesses that make up the mall here, they’re big businesses and local businesses,” Barker said. “It’s not just shopping and retail center, there’s a lot of professional services here… So, for us, it’s an investment, not just in the community, the location, the property, but also all of the businesses that are here, we’re able to make an investment with them.”

Bender Commercial real estate will be taking over management of the property. Barker says the ownership group plans to keep things very similar for the mall’s current tenants.

“We’re going to invest back into the space just like Bill has,” Barket said. “There’s not going to be any drastic change as to what’s happening, it will just change who they send their rent to.”

Bender President Reggie Kuipers says while $20–$30 million real estate sales have become increasingly more common Sioux Falls over the past two years, this $45 million dollar sale is the largest in recent memory for the city.