New uses proposed for big — and mostly empty — Forest Fair Mall

What do Apple, Amazon and FC Cincinnati have in common? They’ve all been invited to be part of the future at the former Forest Fair Mall.

A team of Cincinnati real estate brokers is turning every stone to find a new use for the region’s biggest white elephant.

The 90-acre mega mall, now known as Forest Fair Village, was built in 1989 and sat mostly empty for more than a decade. But its New York owner listed the property last year with an asking price of $55 million.

And Chris Nachtrab has been chasing crazy notions ever since.

"We pitched it to Amazon," said Nachtrab, a managing director in the Cincinnati office of Newmark Knight Frank. "Honestly, they looked. The project they're doing at the airport now takes precedence. But they looked."

Nachtrab is one of at least seven brokers who have pitched the property to potential buyers and tenants. So far, the strongest interest has come from a Christian media company in Nashville that proposed using the mall as a TV and movie production studio.

“We’ve had an offer,” said John Thompson, also a managing director at NKF. “It was under the asking price, unfortunately. We’re still vetting that offer, responding to it and we are expecting an offer sometime in August from another user” who wants to bring a warehouse and distribution facility to the site.

The city of Forest Park appreciates the effort.

“There is a marked difference in terms of how the property is being marketed now compared to the past,” said Paul Brehm, economic development director for the city of Forest Park. “They’re good brokers. They’ve been given some resources to get the marketing done. I think that’s real change from where we’ve been in the past. There appears to be a legitimate interest in trying to move this property forward.”

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