Taubman Centers Sells 760 KSF Connecticut Mall

An arm of home furnishings maker Safavieh acquired Stamford Town Center from the REIT, with plans to revitalize the nearly four-decade-old property.
Stamford Town Center. Image by Greg Isaacson

Home furnishings maker Safavieh has acquired Stamford Town Center from an affiliate of upscale mall owner Taubman Centers Inc. a year after the 760,000-square-foot Connecticut mall hit the market. Safavieh subsidiary Yaraghi Realty LLC picked up the nine-story property in downtown Stamford, announcing that it would embark on a plan to stabilize and revitalize the challenged asset.

Located at the corner of Greyrock Place and Tresser Boulevard, neighboring Safavieh’s flagship showroom, the mall houses almost 100 retail tenants on a 10-acre site, with a more than 3,500-space parking garage. Major tenants of the mall include Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, Michael Kors, Banana Republic, Swarovski and Barnes & Noble. Macy’s owns its footprint of roughly 240,000 square feet, and the sale to Yaraghi Realty encompassed the remaining 520,000 square feet of the mall.

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Opened in 1982, Stamford Town Center has struggled over the past year, with a number of high-profile tenants closing up shop in favor of locations at The SoNo Collection, Brookfield Properties’ new upscale mall in Norwalk, Conn. H&M ended its 12-year presence at the Stamford property a couple of months after opening up in the Norwalk mall, while Apple shuttered its Stamford Town Center location in February and opened a new store in SoNo Collection a few days later.

Other tenants to depart the Taubman property have included Clarks, Chico’s, Talbots and Pandora. Some of the closings have been offset by new arrivals over the past year, including children’s amusement concept Fun Palace. Commercial Property Executive observed more than 20 vacant storefronts and restaurants during a recent visit to the mall.

Revitalization plans

Taubman began marketing the property in October 2019. Newmark Managing Director Christian Bangert was the sole buyer’s representative for Yaraghi Realty in the transaction, while an Eastdil Secured team led by Christopher Hoffmann and Steven Livaditis represented the sellers. The property changed hands for an undisclosed price.

Stamford Town Center interior. Image by Greg Isaacson

Port Washington, N.Y.-based Safavieh, which is owned and run by the Yaraghi family, has nearly 15 million square feet of commercial and industrial properties completed or under development across the U.S. The company’s 100,000-square-foot Stamford showroom, opened more than 30 years ago, is located at 230 Atlantic St.

Although Taubman initially marketed Stamford Town Center as a potential redevelopment opportunity, Yaraghi Realty told the Stamford Advocate that it would keep the asset as a Class A mall, while creating a more appealing environment in terms of tenants, products and restaurants. Safavieh also plans to open a new showroom in the mall.

Stamford Town Center reopened to the public on May 20 after suspending operations due to the coronavirus outbreak two months earlier. The property two blocks north of Interstate 95 includes retail on levels two through six, along with parking on levels one through three and six through nine, including the rooftop.

Taubman tweaks portfolio

The entity that sold the mall was Rich-Taubman Associates, which the newspaper identifies an affiliate of Taubman Centers and UBS Realty Investors. Taubman, an NYSE-listed mall REIT, owns, manages and/or leases 26 retail properties in the U.S. and Asia as of June, including regional, super-regional and outlet shopping malls.

The company’s Taubman Asia business in early October opened Starfield Anseong, a 1-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment project, in tandem with Shinsegae Property in Anseong, South Korea.

American’s largest mall owner and operator Simon Property Group scrapped a $3.6 billion merger agreement with Taubman this past June, citing the impact of the pandemic on the rival REIT and claiming Taubman had breached its obligations under the deal.