Simon Property Group has lost control of a mall in suburban Atlanta, more bad news for one of the country’s largest retail landlords that has seen income plunge due to the pandemic.
Deutsche Bank foreclosed on Simon’s Town Center at Cobb Mall, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. In November, a report in Trepp identified three malls where Simon indicated it could give up to lenders.
Deutsche was the lead lender and trustee of a $200 million loan backing the 1.2 million-square-foot Town Center. That CMBS loan was transferred to special servicing in June for payment default, Trepp noted.
Deutsche and other investors will now manage the property. They had looked to sell the mall with bids starting at $130 million, according to the report. A live auction was held outside on Tuesday, but there were no bids.
The Town Center has over 170 stores including Macy’s, H&M and JCPenney. The property was about 85 percent occupied, according to Trepp.
Simon did not return a call for comment.
Since the pandemic, large mall owners like Simon, Starwood Capital Group and Brookfield Property Partners have sought to turn over malls to their lenders. Brookfield handed the keys over to its lender on the 1.3 million square-foot North Point Mall in nearby Fulton County, Georgia, earlier this year through a deed-in-lieu. Brookfield had several other malls that were in default and that it could give up on, according to a TRD analysis.
Mall traffic has dropped significantly across the U.S. because of Covid restrictions and consumer hesitation that have led to a rapid rise in e-commerce shopping. Some retailers have also declared bankruptcy or stopped paying rent on their mall space, further squeezing operators.