Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Downtown Plaza for Sale… again

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Westfield Group of Australia has begun seeking buyers for the Sacramento mall and 16 other underperforming centers in seven states.

Westfield's goal: Take advantage of an uptick in the economy to sell the properties, then use the proceeds to reinvest in more successful centers, such as its Galleria mall in Roseville.

Westfield officials had no comment. Neither did Evercore Partners, a New York-based advisory firm that's been hired to market the mall portfolio.

The news comes almost two years after city officials asked Westfield to find a buyer if it wasn't going to make long-discussed improvements. Westfield officials said then they'd sell "under certain circumstances."

It would be big surprised to me if the 39-year-old mall finds a buyer, but there could be some harsh finical forces at play that make it so Westfield has to shed the dead weight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great to hear that they're selling although I'm not sure anyone else has the capital necessary to revitalize the mall.

Although I was a teen at the time, I remember the '93 remodel being very successful - DTP was packed, had unique retailers, and was a destination. So I think even with today's Sacramento, the demand is still there.

If the buyer decides to keep the mall relatively intact (ie not turn it into something else), there definitely needs to be an additional retail anchor added to the mix. Basically, DTP has only one anchor (Macy's), split into two. Clearly, that's not enough of a traffic generator. A larger movie complex would help too, but as long as it did not impact business at the Crest and Esquire.

If the mall concept is to be rethought, I'd like to echo some sentiments shared by other armchair planners - lose the oversupply of retail, add housing. I also wouldn't rule out an expansion of satellite Universities and possible student dormitories...maybe even Sac State can join in. Also think a new arena might be a good idea as well.

Regardless, it's going to take a significant amount of money to revitalize due to years of Westfield neglect. And they'll have to move quickly, the perception of that mall is getting worse by the day, and negative perception has a bad knack for sticking around long after the problem has been alleviated.