Trent Rose's Commentary

Posted March 29, 2006 (user submitted)

The Newton Factory Outlet Mall in Newton, Kansas. The mall was built in the spring of 1996. The mall faces Interstate 35, which is a busy road leading to Wichita (the largest city in the state).

Construction delays prompted speculation the mall developers were bankrupt and the facility would not open, according to the Newton Kansan. Bellemead Development of New Jersey, the mall's owners, refuted the claim and named several future tenants.

The mall opened during the summer of 1996. The stores included:

Factory Brand Shoes Party Outlet Tools & More The Plazgraff Outlet The Corning Outlet Kitchen Creations Publisher's Warehouse Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory FunTastic Factory GNC Sunglass Hut Golf Outlet Gambino's Pizza Harbor View Golf Two or three kitchen and domestic stores (do not recall the names)

The Funtastic Factory and the Harbor View Golf were the primary entertainment venues when the mall opened. The Funtastic Factory had a large Carousel, rides, and arcade games. Additionally, there was a stage and convention facilities for groups. The business was not a success. The golf course is still open. It borders a small pond and has a light house.

ICE Royal Cinemas added a multiple screen theater around 1998. The cinema was the major anchor of the mall. The theater was closed during the fall of 2001, after declaring bankruptcy. Palace Theater in Wichita purchased the theater and reopened it during 2002.

2002 was a banner year for the mall, with 85% occupancy. The VF Outlet became the major anchor store. The VF Outlet replaced the Publisher's Warehouse, the Funtastic Factory, and several other small stores. According to the Newton Kansan, the mall owner's planned a multi-million dollar expansion of the property. This never materialized.

The mall went into decline during 2003, following the national trend for outlet malls. One of the mall managers was indited for "check kiting" and fraud related to the sale of his interest in the now defunct Sunset Bar & Grill, located at the mall.

The theater is the major venue at the mall today. No restaurants have operated at the mall since 2004. The food court is used ocassionally by a local radio club. VF closed several years ago, leaving a huge gap in the mall. Other long term tenants continue to close.

The mall changed its marketing approach, and now calls itself "The Shops at Chisholm Trail." However, this move away from factory outlets has not brought noticable change. The mall's close proximity to Wichita and distance from Newton will make it unlikely to convert to an "ordinary mall" as other outlet centers have in Kansas.


Posted June 3, 2006 (user submitted)

Since my commentary was posted to Deadmalls, the mall has been listed for sale with Grubb-Ellis/Martens Commercial Realty. The agency has been the leasing agent for the mall for several years, but has only recruited one small tenant. The asking price is $1.9 million for the 186,000 square foot center. When the mall was constructed in 1995, it cost over $10 million to build, according to the Wichita Eagle 4/18/06. Grubb-Ellis had been concentrating on recruiting non-outlet tenants for the mall since last year. The agency still lists the adjoining lots to the outlet mall for $785,000 each, so the mall is essentially priced for the land value only.

According to High Beam Research, the Outlet Mall was originally slated to include 40 shops, a hotel, campground, and stage. However, only the shops were constructed. Bellemead Development, the mall's owner, states the reason they are selling the property is because they are too far away to effectively manage the property, according to the Wichita Eagle 4/18/06.

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