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Coyote's Big Plans

After seeing its portfolio shrink to just one property — the Tempe Mall — Dallas-based Coyote Management L.P. was sitting on a lot of capital and talent, but very little to work on.

Enter the Alton Square Mall.

In May, Coyote snatched the 634,181-square-foot property in Alton, Ill. from Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and immediately hatched a plan to revive the sagging center. (It currently sits about 30 percent empty.) The malls need some pop.

“It's been neglected simply because it was in a small market for the previous owner,” says Robert D. Lee, president of Coyote Management. “But we see an opportunity to reposition it within the community and then remarket it to retailers.”

That's Coyote's forte. The company's been so good at that task, in fact, that it was able to take every property in its portfolio and sell them off after increasing occupancies and rents.

With Alton, Coyote sees the centerpiece of the mall's rejuvenation in a library. Already, a 6,000-square-foot branch operates at the property. Coyote is close to reaching a deal with the city to expand the branch to 25,000 square feet. It's also close to bringing in a 14-screen theater. The combination of the library expansion and the cinema addition will bring the occupancy back over 80 percent and have Coyote on a path of getting the center where it wants it to be in 16 to 24 months.

Overall, it plans on spending about $14 million to reposition the center. It anticipates finalizing a lease on the library before the end of the year. Renovations on the center will start in the spring.

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