Okun Gets 100 Years; How Many for the West Oaks Mall?

High-stakes real estate swindler Edward H. Okun was sentenced last week in a Virginia courtroom to 100 years in prison for absconding with about $126 million in funds entrusted to his qualified intermediary company by 1031 exchange investors. Meanwhile, back on the corner of Westheimer and Highway 6, one of his former properties went up for sale.

Okun’s Investment Properties of America bought the West Oaks Mall for $110 million in 2005. The sellers of the bankrupt property might expect to get $20 million for the million-sq.-ft. mall today, reports Globe St.‘s Amy Wolff Sorter:

The mall’s anchors include Dillard’s and Macy’s, which own their own space, and Sears, which is on a lease. [Holliday Fenoglio Fowler’s Robert] Williamson says the Sears lease is up in 2010, but negotiations are underway to keep the retailer in place.

When Okun bought the mall from Somera Capital and CoastWood Capital a little less than four years ago, the asset was 95% leased, and sported $10 million worth of exterior and interior improvements. IPA had even larger plans for even more renovations on the 33-acre site, Williamson says.

Less than a year later, the owner was able to secure $86 million of permanent financing for the mall. Yet by late 2007, IPA had filed for bankruptcy protection to stave off foreclosure. Okun’s troubles and a failing economy dropped the mall’s occupancy to a little less than 70%.

How’s the mall looking these days?


“Even West Oak’s sign looks pathetic,” wrote blogger Robert Boyd after a visit this spring:

Despite a great location and not bad interior, West Oaks Mall is plagued with vacancies. And unlike malls like Memorial City Mall, West Oaks is not able to hide the gaps.

Photos of West Oaks Mall, 14700 Westheimer: Robert W. Boyd

4 Comment

  • The reality is that the location isn’t that great.

    The Alief-Clodine area south of the mall doesn’t necessarily entice shopper from north of the mall to shop there. It’s easier to go to Memorial City, Town and Country Village, or First Colony.

  • The mall use to be pretty nice back in the early 90’s. People have since moved out towards Katy, etc. Now you have many apartments in the area. With that comes more transients and less families. Same thing happened to the Sharpstown area. I can’t see the trend reversing itself.

  • I stopped going there when the little gansgter wanabees started hanging out by the entrances. I plan to never set foot in that place again.

  • Alamo Draft House is one of the places that draw me outside the Loop regularly.