Sports mogul Kroenke buys Norwichtown Commons

Norwich - A Missouri-based real estate development company linked to billionaire sports and real estate mogul E. Stanley Kroenke last week purchased the Norwichtown Commons shopping plaza on Town Street.

TKG Norwichtown Commons LLC, a limited liability company formed by The Kroenke Group of Columbia, Mo., and controlled by Kroenke, bought the 160,000-square-foot former mall from Massachusetts-based Winstanley Enterprises LLC, according to land records filed with the city clerk. The company was granted an open-end mortgage of $33,405,000 for the property, and the sale was officially recorded by the Norwich city clerk on Monday.

Kroenke, whom Forbes magazine estimated to be worth $5.3 billion in September, made his fortune building shopping centers in the United States. He is married to Ann Walton Kroenke, the niece of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and an heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune. Kroenke's retail developments are often anchored by Wal-Mart stores.

There is no Wal-Mart store at the Norwichtown Commons, but the retailer does have a store about 4 miles away on Route 82 in Norwich.

Kroenke, 66, also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, the NFL's St. Louis Rams and the English Premier League soccer club Arsenal. The Kroenke Group owns several hundred storage facilities and shopping centers, as well as the largest cattle ranch in Canada and two vineyards, according to Forbes.

Representatives from The Kroenke Group and Winstanley did not return calls seeking comment on Friday.

Winstanley purchased the nearly empty and rundown former Norwichtown Mall in July 2011 for $15.75 million and embarked on a $7.5 million tear-down and rebuild project that created a shopping plaza with no interior mall and each store having its own separate entrance.

Stop & Shop supermarket and Dress Barn remained, and some stores that had been in the mall returned to the plaza, including Fancy Nails, Hair Cuttery and Dollar Tree. New stores include Lucky House Chinese restaurant, Petsense and Big Lots.

c.young@theday.com

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