Vestar to Manage 1.1 MSF Phoenix Mall

Coventry Real Estate Partners has tapped Vestar to manage Christown Spectrum Mall, a 1.1 million-square-foot, super-regional retail destination in Phoenix.

January 19, 2012
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

It appears that Vestar is on a roll. The real estate company has secured yet another major property management assignment, its third in approximately 60 days. Coventry Real Estate Partners just tapped Vestar to manage Christown Spectrum Mall, a 1.1 million-square-foot, super-regional retail destination in Phoenix.

Vestar takes over the management duties from co-owner DDR, which had overseen the operational responsibility for the asset on behalf of its joint venture partnership with Coventry. “At Christown, our plans are to enhance the already successful leasing efforts that have been made,” Pat McGinley, vice president of property management at Vestar, told Commercial Property Executive. “Taking the project from 92 percent leased to 100 percent leased will be our challenge.”

Christown, occupying 86 acres within close proximity of a light rail system, first opened its doors in 1961 and took on the title of the first-air conditioned enclosed mall in Phoenix. Coventry and DDR acquired Christown in 2004, and in 2009, the team completed a redevelopment project that transformed it into a combination of indoor mall and power center. Today, the property is leased to a bevy of national and regional retailers, including anchor tenants Costco, JC Penney, PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less, Target and Walmart.

“We have an interior mall component with a host of very successful national tenants and our role is to work on that tenant mix to bring more national and regional tenants to that interior mall portion, and also enhance the success of those tenants over there,” McGinley noted. To that end, Vestar, as is its practice when taking on management assignments, has recruited a local team to provide the type of leasing insight that is best obtained through local brokers with in-depth knowledge. Vestar has chosen commercial real estate services Strategic Retail Group for the task.

Vestar brings its own experience in the Phoenix area to the table as well. The company also manages the 1.2 million-square-foot Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix, and the 1.3 million-square-foot Tempe Marketplace, both of which Vestar developed. “We’re going to build on the successes that we already have with the more than 12 million square feet of local shopping centers that we manage and lease,” he said. “We’re going to utilize the successes that we’ve seen there and bring them to Christown, and what that’s going to do is reenergize the community awareness of the project and reenergize the community to shop there, which therefore, leads tenants to want to locate there. We’re enhancing the tenant mix, enhancing the good things that are already there.”

The Christown contract comes on the heels of two other major assignments for Vestar. Earlier this month, Coventry Real Estate Partners chose the company to spearhead the management of the 1.1 million-square-foot Buena Park Downtown retail complex in Buena Park, Calif. Additionally in November, Vestar became property manager at Westgate City Center, a 400,000-square-foot mixed-use property in Glendale, Ariz.

The fact that Vestar is high on property owners’ radar of late has much to do with experience, groundwork and, well, timing. As McGinley explains it, “We believe that the inroads and relationships we’ve built with institutional owners is coming to fruition more recently because of the increase in property transactions requiring management and leasing changes.” In other words, more work is likely on the horizon.