Visalia Mall owner expected to buy JC Penney

John Lindt

Brookfield Properties closes in on buying JC Penney through a combination of cash and new loans

TULARE COUNTY – Visalia Mall’s parent company Brookfield Properties is close to buying JC Penney who’s now in bankruptcy, in hopes of holding on to other retail stores.

In the past few days the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas has approved the asset purchase agreement with Brookfield Asset Management, Inc., Simon Property Group and creditors. The sale would be through a combination of cash and new term loan debt.

“Our goal from the beginning of this process has been to ensure JC Penney will continue to serve customers for decades to come and this court approval accomplishes that objective,” said Jill Soltau, JC Penney CEO. “With the 2020 holiday season in full swing, we are excited to operate under the new ownership of Brookfield and Simon outside of Chapter 11 and under the JC Penney banner.

For Visalia Mall the news solidifies the role of one of the big anchors at the shopping mall helping them to continue to attract tenants in this uncertain retail environment. The mall’s largest players, JC Penney, Macy’s and Old Navy have had a tough 2020 but “Now are preparing for the most important holiday quarter in recent memory,” notes one analyst.

Tulare fast food project under construction

Still no announcement that In-N-Out is coming to Tulare but dirt is flying this week at the project site next to Evolutions. Developers are said to have an agreement with the popular burger chain and a quick service chicken company—Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers—next door. Work on the off sites is underway as well as a wall dividing the property.

VF Corporation buys direct-to-consumer company

VF Corporation, the international clothing company with a big presence in Visalia, announced this week they had acquired Supreme, a privately-owned global streetwear brand. The transaction is expected to be completed late in calendar year 2020. Supreme sells apparel, accessories and footwear under its namesake brand globally through direct-to-consumer channels, primarily digital.

The Supreme brand’s founder, James Jebbia and the senior leadership team of the brand will remain with the company, headquartered in New York City.

“We are thrilled to welcome Supreme to the VF family and to build on our decades-long relationship as we create value for all of our stakeholders,” Jebbia said.

Goshen attracts more home builders

Greg Nunley wants to build 37-acre project for Self Help Enterprises adding more multi-family units and single family housing lots plus a grocery store.

Goshen continues to find themselves in a beneficial situation where Highway 99 continues to add all sorts of new highway commercial projects, but three major home builders are now planning more units in the community.

Already Porterville’s Smee Builders is busy on the west side of the freeway with the Cross Creek—a 400 unit subdivision of single family homes. Now another builder—Tulare developer Greg Nunley has plans for a 37-acre residential and commercial project at the sw corner of Rd 72 and Riggin, on the east side of the Betty Drive interchange. Nunley, a retiring city council member in Tulare, filed the plan with the county recently.

Meanwhile affordable housing builder Self Help Enterprise is about to break ground on a second phase at Sequoia Commons, a multi family project expanding it to 126 units. Also SHE is soon to offer an 89 lot traditional build-it-yourself – Self Help single family home project says CEO Tom Collishaw.

In some exciting news for Goshen, Collishaw says this small farmworker community can expect to see its first grocery store on a six-acre parcel along Riggin that Self Help is in the process of selling. The unnamed buyer will promise to build a grocery store in what Collishaw calls this “food desert.”People now have to travel 6 miles for a full service grocery store. The developer will have room to add adjacent commercial stores.

Hampton Inn planned for Three Rivers

Three Rivers could get a Hampton Inn & Suites next to the Comfort Inn along Highway 198. The 2.8 acre site is vacant next to the abandoned restaurant that used to be called ‘The Indian.’

Developer, Christopher Ott is building a 3-story, 105 room hotel, according to the county. The project held a public scoping session recently. This would be the first new hotel in this tourist town in over 20 years. The development comes after plans to build a boutique hotel last year caused the developer to pull the project.

County wants to rebuild Jordan Peak Lookout

One of several historical structures burned down by the SQF Complex fire, Jordan Peak Lookout was lost Sept. 20. Jordan Peak is located northeast of Camp Nelson.

The landmark has a long history. In 1934 Porterville’s George Simpson built a cabin at Jordan Peak used as a fire lookout. But the overlook has been in use since 1898 The tower has more recently served as a communication site for multiple agencies. There is now a plan to rebuild the complex, says economic development manager Mike Washam, if they can get funding for it.

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