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CBL leased more than a million sq. ft. of space in 2022

One of the nation’s top mall owners signed an entire mall’s worth of tenants.
Al Urbanski
Scheels Sporting Goods opened at Dakota Square in North Dakota in December.

After lifting itself out of Chapter 11 with a major financial restructuring, one of the nation’s top mall owners leased an entire mall’s worth of new tenants last year.

Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CBL Properties, which owns 94 malls, outlets, and lifestyle centers encompassing more than 58 million sq. ft., has announced that it leased more than a million sq. ft. of space to retail, dining, and entertainment tenants in 2022.

Among the bounty:

  • New specialty store openings included Lovesac, Palmetto Moon, Boxed Lunch, Torrid, Burlap and Birch, and Daily Thread.
  • Scheels Sporting Goods and a Tilt entertainment center both opened at Dakota Square in Minot, N.D., in December.
  • Main Event debuted at Sunrise Mall in Brownsville, Texas, and the Von Maur department store, opened at West Towne Mall in Madison, Wis., in October.

CBL’s leasing leader last year was Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck, N.D, with 10 new tenants. Hamilton Place in Chattanooga and Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg, Pa., each signed five new names.

“2022 was a strong year for CBL, with leasing demand above pre-pandemic levels, resulting in over a 200-basis point increase in portfolio occupancy over last year,” said CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz. “We’ve also celebrated an exceptional number of new store openings that include boutique retailers and unique food concepts.

CBL was one of the mall owners that began exploring nontraditional anchors prior to the pandemic. In 2020, it opened a Live! Casino at its Westmoreland Mall outside of Pittsburgh and last year debuted a Hollywood Casino at York Galleria, also in Pennsylvania.

“It was a bold move, and one we had reservations about initially. Not anymore,” Lebovitz wrote in the November-December issue of Chain Store Age. “Both malls have extended their market share and traffic has continued to increase double digits.”

CBL emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November of 2021 after having come to new terms with its lenders that eliminated more than $1.6 billion of debt from its balance sheet.

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