Codding family buys out Simon Property Group’s stake in Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa’s Coddingtown Mall has returned to fully local ownership after the Codding family business last week repurchased the 50 percent stake in the shopping center previously owned by mall giant Simon Property Group.

Simon sold its half of the mall to Codding Enterprises, which had retained the other half of the business for the last 12 years, for an unknown price in a deal completed Thursday, according to mall manager Jimmy Scales.

The family company is led by Lois and Lisa Codding, whose late grandfather Hugh, a widely known figure in Sonoma County business and politics, developed the mall 55 years ago.

“The mall itself is going to be family run; it’s not going to be run by a corporation,” Scales said Sunday of the transaction.

“It just gives them complete control of what kind of stores they want to go in, what direction they want to take it. When they want to sign a deal with a lease they can sign a deal with a lease — they don’t have to wait for five other approvals … Now it can just be done by the Coddings.”

A representative of Simon, which still owns the Santa Rosa Plaza, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Sunday.

Scales, who was promoted from assistant mall manager and marketing director as part of the transition, indicated the deal has been a long time coming.

“The Coddings have always wanted to buy back their mall,” he said. “But I would say, probably in the last six to nine months they have been doing whatever they needed to do on their part to put them in a position where they would be able to buy out Simon.”

Scales was unfamiliar with the exact terms of the deal, including the sales price. He referred questions about the sale’s details to Lois Codding, who couldn’t be reached Sunday.

Hugh Codding developed the 60-acre mall property in 1962 and it prospered in its early years before losing economic ground when the Santa Rosa Plaza debuted downtown in the 1980s. Codding famously fought the plaza’s development in the courts for many years, delaying its opening more than a decade.

Simon acquired half of Coddingtown Mall in 2005, a deal seen at the time as bolstering the shopping center’s prospects for attracting national retailers. In the mall’s most recent history, it gave Sonoma County residents a sorely-desired shopping option in 2016 with the debut of a 31,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack.

Today, Coddingtown Mall spans 822,000 square feet of retail space and more than 40 stores. The mall remains focused on a major renovation on its northwestern side that’s set to house an Ulta Beauty store and other businesses, according to Scales.

In its newly regained status as an entirely locally-owned business, the mall will continue to support community events with an eye toward providing a varied lineup of national and local retailers, Scales said.

“It’s never going to get back to the way it used to be at Coddingtown, back when it was booming,” he said. “But we’re hoping to get it close. Everything’s changing in retail, so it’s just going to be a nice mix and supporting the community. Especially being local, it’s just a different feel.”