Westfield Group to Sell Strongsville’s SouthPark Mall

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor The Westfield Group, the world’s second-largest shopping mall owner, announced plans to sell eight non-core U.S. shopping centers for $1.2 billion in order to pay off debt and invest in higher-profile projects. Greenwich, Conn.-based Starwood Capital Group will acquire a 90 percent stake in seven centers. The eighth property, Eastland, a [...]

The Westfield Group, the world’s second-largest shopping mall owner, announced plans to sell eight non-core U.S. shopping centers for $1.2 billion in order to pay off debt and invest in higher-profile projects. Greenwich, Conn.-based Starwood Capital Group will acquire a 90 percent stake in seven centers. The eighth property, Eastland, a power center in West Covina, Calif., is being sold in a separate transaction.

Among the seven properties going to Starwood is the Westfield SouthPark Mall in Strongsville. With more than 1.6 million square feet of leasable space, Southpark is one of Northeast Ohio’s busiest and largest malls. Recently it was valued at $262.3 million.

The mall opened for business in 1996. The Westfield Group acquired it in 2002 from the Richard E. Jacobs Group Inc. It gave the mall a new name and invested  $150 million to expand and reconfigure it in 2006, adding 25 more stores and a Cinemark movie theater. SouthPark has 168 stores and is anchored by Dillard’s, Sears, JCPenney, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cinemark Theatres.

The Sydney, Australia-based shopping center group has three other malls in Ohio (Belden Village in Canton, Great Northern in North Olmsted and Franklin Park in Toledo) that have also been put up for sale. SouthPark is the only Ohio property in the deal with Starwood.

The Starwood transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012. SouthPark is the largest of the seven properties. The other properties being sold are:

  • Solano, Fairfield, Calif., 1.1 million square feet;
  • Louis Joliet, Chicago, 971,000 square feet;
  • Gateway, Lincoln, Neb., 969,000 square feet;
  • Chicago Ridge, Chicago, 838,600 square feet;
  • Westland, Miami, 868,000 square feet;
  • Metreon, San Francisco, 282,000 square feet.

Westfield Group co-CEO Peter Lowy stated in a press release that the move “represents a further step in our strategic plan to increase return on equity and long-term earnings growth. The proceeds from the transactions will initially pay down corporate debt and then be redeployed in higher-return redevelopment opportunities in the U.S., including the World Trade Center.” The company owns 55 U.S. malls, and has put 17 of them on the market.

Image courtesy of http://www.westfield.com/.