5Qs for Adam Flatto on Easton Town Center's progress during the pandemic
Mall of America has missed three mortgage payments and entered into a forbearance agreement. CBL has worked out a restructuring and will use Chapter 11 to increase liquidity. Was Easton ever in danger of foreclosure?
Easton was never in danger of foreclosure. There is a misperception out there that special servicing must mean that foreclosure is in the cards, and that’s just not the case. In fact, the restructuring agreements we entered into were a proactive move on our part to allow our team to be more creative and flexible to each tenant’s current situation and needs. This way, our restaurants, retailers, and service providers have a more long-term strategy to remain active while we all weather the COVID-19 storm together.
Are there other large developments that have done this?
Absolutely. Developers working with trusted lending partners to reach creative solutions that are in the best interest of all parties is not a new phenomenon. It’s been a common practice in the real estate industry for decades and several prominent malls and developers have taken similar approaches.
Let’s end with some positives. What are some things Easton has going on that you’re really happy about? How do you feel you’re positioned for the holiday season?
Twenty-eight years ago, we and Les Wexner set a course for this project that was going to be different from enclosed malls. There was to be a strong entertainment and lifestyle emphasis. We had hotels and apartments. It was something that was unheard-of back then. What’s happening here now shows us what a great decision that was. Heading into December, we are all hands-on-deck to cultivate the innovative, safe, community events that the Columbus market has come to know and love at Easton.