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New owner plans new life for Willow Bend mall in Plano

Al Urbanski
The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano get a second chance at traffic-building from Spinoso Real Estate Group.

Spinoso Real Estate Group has acquired Shops at Willow Bend—the mall in Plano, Texas, that Starwood Retail Group renovated in 2016—with plans to make changes that will increase traffic.

Having opened in 2001, Willow Bend is one of the newest enclosed malls in the nation and serves a growing and affluent region. But traffic at the mall began declining prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Starwood defaulted on a loan for the property that came due with an unpaid balance of $67 million in 2019.  Shortly thereafter, Willow Bend’s original $161 million loan was secured by the mall itself and two other malls in Michigan and Virginia.

Syracuse-based Spinoso Real Estate was founded by mall industry veteran Carmen Spinoso in 2009 with a mission to help banks, special servicers, and investors “navigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities” of enclosed shopping spaces.

Spinoso previously renovated Santa Fe Place in New Mexico, an 80’s-vintage mall that was re-tenanted with new choices in dining, entertainment, and big-box stores and claims to have increased occupancy by 68% and sales per sq. ft. by 50%.

At Moreno Valley Mall in California, Spinoso reported achieving an 80% rise in sales per sq. ft. and a 25% rise in occupancy—achieved primarily by signed Round1 to a 43,7000-sq. ft. second-floor space that had been vacant since 2007.

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