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11/01/2021

Major mall-owner CBL exits Chapter 11

Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
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CBL's Coastal Grand center in Myrtle Beach

“This is a huge day for CBL,” said chief executive Stephen Lebovitz, whose company just emerged from Chapter 11 following a year of publicly questioning the fate of a public company owning 100-plus malls in 29 states.

In August of 2020, Chattanooga-based CBL filed for bankruptcy protection with a restructuring agreement that eliminated $900 million in debt and $600 million in other financial obligations. In August of this year, 95% of the company’s creditors approved a reorganization plan aimed at transforming its traditional enclosed malls into suburban town centers.

"As we emerge, we plan to use our new flexibility to take advantage of market opportunities,” Lebovitz said. “While the restructuring reduced overall interest expense significantly, a major priority is to continue to lower borrowing costs and enhance cash flow.”

Earlier this year, CBL opened a Live! casino in a vacated anchor space at Westmoreland Mall outside of Pittsburgh. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, the company was engaged in the renovation of several malls with departed anchors. A 53,000-sq.-ft. trampoline park was installed at Myrtle Beach’s Coastal Grand mall.

“With these new priorities and focus, we are excited about the bright future we envision for our company,” Lebovitz said. “I want to thank the CBL team and the exiting Board of Directors, as well as our creditors, lenders, and other stakeholders for their confidence and support during this process.”