Northridge Commons was recently sold for at least $70 million.

Northridge Commons was recently sold for at least $70 million.

Crain’s Chicago Business recently reported on the rapidly growing demand for retail properties in Chicago and in other urban areas. The reason? It’s largely attributed to the recovery of the retail market, great recent returns on shopping centers and the fact new supply is limited.

To illustrate the point, Chicago Business pointed out the recent sale of the Northridge Commons shopping center to a real-estate investment firm for at least $70 million (final numbers have not been released). Competition was reportedly fierce for the property, which was previously owned by embattled investor and developer Laurence Freed.

Northridge Commons mall was purchased by an affiliate of AmCap, which is based in Stamford, CT. The sale price of at least $70 million for the 328,000 square-foot property was described as “robust,” but also as a sign the Chicago retail real estate market is poised for big growth.

Freed’s company had owned the property for decades and during the stewardship it’s been a success. At the time of the sale, Northridge Commons was 99 percent leased.

Chicago-base firm Abbell Associates will manage the mall and handle the leasing for AmCap. An official for the group told Chicago Business that plans call for rents to be raised and for the mall’s facade to be remade.

For those unfamiliar with Freed, he’s been a stalwart in the Chicago commercial real estate industry. However, he’s run into rough waters in recent years. He’s been served by several lawsuits, one of which ultimately cost him the Block 37 mall in the Loop. He also was charged in 2013 by Federal authorities of lying to lenders.

Chicago Business reports Freed’s trial is scheduled to start in May.