PREIT Nears Finish Line with Sale of Four Non-Core Malls

The Philadelphia-based REIT recently sold four of its retail assets for roughly $92.4 million, as part of the company's portfolio repositioning effort.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Joe Coradino, PREIT
Joe Coradino, PREIT

Philadelphia—Thirteen down, one to go. PREIT‘s transformation of its shopping mall portfolio through the disposition of non-core assets nears its conclusion with the recent sale of four properties. The group of assets, totaling 2.4 million square feet, sold for approximately $92.4 million.

PREIT relieved itself of the malls in two separate transactions, one of which involved Lycoming Mall in Pennsdale, Pa. The 806,800-square-foot property commanded approximately $26.4 million. The remaining malls sold to a single institutional buyer in a $66 million deal, which included $17 million in seller financing. The group includes two assets in Alabama—the 505,600-square-foot Gadsen Mall in Gadsen, and the 635,900-square-foot Wiregrass Commons Mall in Dothan—and New River Valley Mall, a 463,500-square-foot property in Christiansburg, Va.

Non-core, indeed. The 13 malls that have now been sold as part of PREIT’s portfolio repositioning effort recorded average gross sales of $267 per square foot, compared to the $458 per square foot average for the REIT’s core portfolio. Additionally, the average gross rents for the non-core and core collections were $28.82 and $54.56 per square foot, respectively.

“We will look to continue to harvest the value in our existing portfolio through redevelopment and improving the overall merchandising of our existing properties,” Joseph Coradino, CEO of PREIT, told Commercial Property Executive. “We’re intensely focused on operations and delivering improved results from our improved portfolio.”

By letting go of the 13 malls that no longer suited its goals, as well as several power centers and land parcels, PREIT has produced gross proceeds totaling $600 million. Those funds have allowed the company to decrease its overall indebtedness and pocket enough money to finance a $250 million redevelopment pipeline and remerchandising initiatives.

Amid the selling and reinventing of properties, PREIT squeezed in an acquisition. The company snapped up the 1.4 million-square-foot Springfield Town Center, a new mall in Springfield, Va., near Washington, D.C. “There aren’t really high-quality malls on the market. And if they become available, they’re highly competitive,” Coradino said. “Most of what’s on the market is the type of assets we’re selling. Our Springfield Town Center acquisition was and off-market transaction, but we really aren’t in the market for acquisitions today. We feel the best use of our capital right now is to reinvest it in our existing portfolio.”

PREIT announced the disposition endeavor—designed to reduce debt, significantly improve the quality of its holdings and drive operating results–in November 2012, and has just one more asset to sell before the program reaches completion.