Mathrani says GGP’s “pens are down” on new deals

Mall exec says REIT doesn’t plan to make any purchases as it focuses on improving malls

TRD New York /
Jun.June 08, 2017 01:40 PM

GGP’s CEO Sandeep Mathrani and Tag Heuer at 685 Fifth Avenue (Credit: Getty Images and Vornado)

General Growth Properties TRData LogoTINY CEO Sandeep Mathrani isn’t too concerned with the vacancy rate on Fifth Avenue – mostly because he isn’t planning on buying anything there.

During a panel at NAREIT’s annual REIT Week conference Wednesday, Mathrani pointed out that GGP just leased up its last vacancy on the prime shopping strip: a tiny, 896-square-foot space at 685 Fifth Avenue to the watchmaker Tag Heuer.

The availability rate on prime Fifth Avenue from 49th to 60th streets rose 4.4 percent on the year to 17.4 percent in the first quarter, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Mathrani said that’s a function of pricing, given that retailers will lease spaces if and when prices come back down to earth. But when asked if he was interested on buying on Fifth, the retail real estate exec said the only thing GGP is buying is empty anchor stores at its malls across the country.

“My pens are down,” he said. “I’m not a buyer for anything except to make my shopping centers better, which is to acquire department stores.”

Mathrani spoke early in the morning at the New York Hilton Midtown on Sixth Avenue, where more than 500 executives were scheduled to attend one of the largest real estate events of the year.

The GGP head said that in Europe, mall operators and developers aren’t having conversations with department stores, because there are none in growth mode.

“We are in a very similar situation here, but we are about 10 years too late, and we are fast correcting,” he said.

Related Articles

250th Issue

The Real Deal celebrates 250 issues

From left: Publisher and founder Amir Korangy, Editor-in-chief Stuart Elliott and VP of Corporate Development Yoav Barilan

TRD’s founders share war stories from over the years

Neir’s Tavern (Credit: Google Maps)

City’s oldest bar, of “Goodfellas” fame, gets last-minute lifeline

Neir's Tavern (Credit: Google Maps)

Landlord to bar owner: You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here

729 Seventh Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

Lawyer argued façade was safe 3 months before fatal accident

Bill Ackman, LeBron James, and Arnold Schwarzenegger with 787 11th Avenue (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Celebrity property group caught in $11M construction dispute

Renderings of The William Vale and Denizen Bushwick (Credit: iStock)

All Year’s rating outlook turns negative as bondholders reject two amendments

RXR CEO Scott Rechler and an aerial view of the site (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps)

RXR plans 21-story LIC office building with manufacturing incentives