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Al Urbanski

Real Estate Editor & Manager


October 2019

It’s no secret that a successful retail center of any kind in 2019 — be it an outdoor center or an enclosed mall — must re-jigger its mix to include a wide variety of food, beverage, and entertainment-based tenants.


September 2020

With more than 60 restaurants dotting its property, one would expect to find any and every type of cuisine at Easton Town Center in Columbus, and it’s possible that that may now be the case.

With e-commerce sales surging past 20% during the pandemic, shopping center operators have had serious discussions about turning their empty department store anchors into last-mile distribution centers.

Minnesota’s Mall of America will dedicate a retail space called Community Commons to shops in Minneapolis and St. Paul whose businesses have been disrupted by the pandemic and social unrest brought about by the killing of George Floyd.

Shopping centers and malls continue to work their ways out of the confines of COVID-19 with gains in traffic and new tenants coming on-stream.

With 1.3 million sq. ft. of gross leasing area and minus two anchors with the departures of Sears and J.C. Penney, The Connecticut Post Mall in Milford is encountering the same questionable future.

Back in March and April, when the COVID-19 pandemic began putting malls out of business, Centennial executives hunkered down in a series of defensive planning meetings to weather the crisis.

A&G Real Estate Partners announced it has begun marketing leases for 280 Stein Mart locations being closed in connection with the company’s bankruptcy filing.

The Connecticut Post Mall in Milford lost its Sears and J.C. Penney and wants to fill those empty spaces with luxury apartments that owner Centennial thinks would fill a need in the community and save the property.

Like a lot of mall owners, PREIT has turned many of its parking lots into drive-in movie theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it hasn’t stopped there.

The COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in making people do a lot of things they’ve never thought of doing before, like beginning the Christmas season the day after Halloween.

Starwood Capital Group missed as many as four payments on a $549 million commercial mortgage-backed security it used to buy a distressed group of seven malls in 2013 and, as a result, has lost five malls in an open bid.

More than 50 shops that make up Manhattan’s newest enclosed mall at Hudson Yards have re-opened.

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday, 100 shoppers were waiting in line on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, eagerly anticipating gaining entry for the first time in months to New York City’s most highly trafficked mall, Queens Center.

Months after the COVID-19 virus hit and the retail world was floored, Best Buy achieved an 81% sales retention though most of its doors were closed.

Hackensack Meridian Health will now have a home at American Dream in East Rutherford.

One sees more stories about old malls closing during the COVID-19 pandemic, not new ones opening.

Nikki Traff

Colliers International’s executive managing director Nikki Traff has claimed to increase net operating incomes for landlords by $2 million in 18 months by re-tenanting shopping centers. We spoke with her to find out more.

Retail center landlords received 79.7% of their rent checks in August, just a two-percentage-point improvement over July.

H&M, Primark, and Zara will finally open their stores at American Dream—Triple Five’s long-stalled New Jersey mega-mall—on Oct. 1.

Conor Flynn

Kimco announced that traffic, occupancy rates, and rent collections continued trending upward in August.

Pearl Britain Plaza in Ocala

Ever since FedEx opened a 400,000 distribution center in Ocala, Fla., four years ago, business has been livelier at nearby Pearl Britain Plaza—so much so that a new and improved Publix will be constructed at the center.

The developers of AREA15 in Las Vegas envisioned an art-inspired consumer bazaar with a 23-ft.-high Japanese maple tree festooned with LED lights and something called The Beast Pop-Up Food Experience.

August 2020

Adam Flatto

Wondering how Easton Town Center has fared during COVID-19, we talked to its developer, Adam Flatto, CEO of The Georgetown Companies.

COVID-19 has sounded a death knell for malls in B, C, and D markets that were struggling to survive before the pandemic struck, according to a new report from Coresight Research.

When Triple Five reported in July that it had lost some tenants, the price of about $1 billion worth of municipal bonds funding the company’s American Dream mall in New Jersey fell to about 87 cents on the dollar.

Stephen Lebovitz

Most people who know Stephen Lebovitz, CBL Properties’ chief executive, were sure he wouldn’t surrender without a fight the company founded in 1978 by his father Charles B. Lebovitz.

One would assume that Alaska, huge as it is, with not so many people and all that white snow, would be one of the cleanest places in the land. But one would apparently be wrong. 

Retailers whose businesses have been devastated by the pandemic but who have enough cash on hand to remain in operation through the holidays will do so.

Lining up with armfuls of hangered clothing in backrooms of stores could soon be a thing of the past.

Slate's St. Elmo Central center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

To make it absolutely plain that its business is 100% based on grocery-anchored shopping centers, the Slate Retail REIT has changed its name to Slate Grocery REIT. “Slate Grocery REIT better reflects our business and investment thesis, which have

Scene from The Big Short

One of the most talked-about movies of 2015 was “The Big Short,” which tells the story of how hedge funds made heaps of cash off the mortgage crisis of 2008.

Not too many years ago, Walmart’s e-commerce operations were largely overshadowed by Amazon.

When Blackstone acquired Encino Courtyard as part of a larger industrial portfolio in 2016, the Southern California shopping center appeared a little fuzzy around the edges.

Doug Greenspan

COVID-19’s historical mark on the retail industry will be how it energized the move of brick-and-mortar brands into full-blown e-commerce efforts.

After having missed three mortgage payments, Mall of America’s collateral value has slipped from $2.3 billion to $1.9 billion.

CBL Properties will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in concert with a pre-made restructuring agreement with its lenders that will keep all of its 108 properties open and operating.

Andrew Cuomo

The fit will again be getting fitter in the state of New York, leaving just six states where fitness businesses must remain closed due to coronavirus concerns

PREIT, one of the many big mall owners whose shoppers have been doing more shopping online, has decided to follow them there.

COVID-19 has been especially tough on the movie business. Sell-out crowds and social distancing don’t mix.

PWS laundry has built and sold more than 3,000 laundromats since, and now the founder’s grandson is running the family business with a partner.

Many in the retail industry were surprised this week by reports that Amazon has been talking with Simon about putting distribution centers into some of the mall chain’s shuttered Sears and Penney’s stores.

Retailers and retail center owners alike have been expanding their omnichannel efforts since COVID-19 altered the way they do business.

Liberty Township, an affluent suburb of Cincinnati, is a town on the rise.

A day after reporting a 36% decrease of $18.6 million in the second quarter, mall owner PREIT announced it has executed a secured term loan for up to $30 million to shore up its liquidity as the COVID-19 pandemic draws on.

Barry Wolfe

Barry Wolfe recently tipped us off to the growing role of sale-leasebacks during COVID-19.

Simon headquarters

Impacted by the mandated closing of seven properties in California in July, Simon Property Group saw its net operating income drop to $254 million in the second quarter—42% less than the $437 million it took in during Q2 2019.  "We continue

The Castletong Square Mall in Simon's hometown of Indianapolis

Simon Property Group’s mission to re-energize and re-make its malls may have entered a new phase. Already embarked on a plan to become an owner of important tenants such as Brooks Brothers and Lucky brands, the nation’s top mall owner is looking

Outlets Nags Head in North Carolina

In a year that has caused so much anguish and inspired so much effort in the retail industry, one group of outlet stores wants to provide proper thanks to its employees on Thanksgiving.

Silver Diner

Silver Diner has made a commitment to clean air as well as “clean” food in all its restaurants. The farm-to-table chain, which has 20 locations in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey and is known for its emphasis on healthy eating and fre

High-end, locally owned tenants took the concept of “open air” to a new level.

While states use case counts to measure the tenure of the COVID-19 pandemic, landlords use rent checks--and they got lots more of them last month.

Neighbors at Naperville Crossings in Naperville, Ill., got together to work out solutions for prospering in the shadow of coronavirus restrictions.

Last week we revealed the Top 5 COMEBACK Retail Center Experiences, now here's the rest of the list.

Matt Soffair

We had the chance to speak with Legal & General Investment Management's retail research manager, Matt Soffair, to find out how the crisis has altered the course of retail there.

This Invesco town center provided another great example of how colorful, expressive graphic art can recast stern government regulation into refined living.

Triple Five will soon get the roller coasters rolling and the cash registers ringing to re-energize Mall of America, though at a much slower pace than usual. 

Average asking rents along 16 high-yield retail corridors in Manhattan were $688 per square foot during the quarter ending on June 30.

Sunflowers have sprung up all around the streets of Assembly Row, located in Somerville, Mass. — in shop windows, on sidewalk signage, billboards, bathroom doors, hand sanitizers, and automatic parking lot gates.

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