Macerich doubles down on Rosemont outlet mall with $300M refinance

The new debt comes as mall owner prepares for a massive expansion of the Fashion Outlets of Chicago
By John O’Brien |
Research by Haru Coryne
January 17, 2019 01:05PM

Macerich CEO Thomas O’Hern and the Fashion Outlets of Chicago (Credit: Macerich and Rosemont)

Macerich secured a $300 million refinancing on the Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont as it prepares to launch a major expansion of the mall.

MetLife provided the loan, which closed on Jan. 10, according to Cook County records. The 12-year, fixed-rate loan replaces a $200 million floating-rate loan, Macerich executives said previously.

Macerich, a Santa Monica-based REIT, and the village of Rosemont last year reached a deal on a plan to expand the 538,000-square-foot mall near Interstate 294 by at least 225,000 square feet.

At the time, Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens told the Chicago Tribune that Macerich would have to give a year’s notice before starting construction, in part because the expansion would require the demolition of the village-owned Rosemont Theatre nearby.

Reached this week, Stephens said there’s been no movement on the expansion since the agreement was reached in May, other than some procedural tweaks to the agreement. He said Macerich has five years to show progress on the expansion plan.

“We’re just sitting tight, waiting for them,” Stephens said.

The mall includes tenants such as Bloomingdale’s, Nike, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom Rack. Stephens said sales numbers at the five-year mall continue to be strong, so he’s optimistic about the expansion.

A spokesperson for Macerich did not immediately return requests for comment.

Talk of expanding the mall comes at a precarious time for retail landlords, with the recent demise of several big chains like Carson’s and Toys “R” Us — and Sears’ continued shedding of unprofitable stores — leaving plenty of vacant big box space. The Chicago-area retail vacancy rate hit 11.6 percent last year, reaching its highest point since 2010.

The challenges don’t seem to be deterring Macerich, at least not when it comes to discount outlet malls. The firm announced last year it’s teaming with Simon Property Group to develop a 566,000-square-foot outlet center in Carson, California.