Lender eyes sale of Brookfield’s Northbrook Court mall

Move comes after months of skipped payments on $117M remaining mortgage: report

Northbrook Court mall (Brookfield, iStock)
Northbrook Court mall (Brookfield, iStock)

Months ago, a Brookfield Property Partners-led group stopped paying the $117 million remaining mortgage on Northbrook Court mall, a nearly 1 million-square-foot complex that has been pummeled by the pandemic.

The loan matures in November, but lender Barings is now shopping for brokers to potentially sell the hulking property in Northbrook, sources told Crain’s.

It marks a major shift from the recent past, when Brookfield had big redevelopment plans for the property at 1515 Lake Cook Road, which it owns with New York State Common Retirement Fund. In 2018, Brookfield and developer Ryan Companies devised a $250 million plan to tear down the mall’s Macy’s store and replace it with 315 apartments, a grocery store, a food hall and new retail.

A year later, Northbrook village even awarded the Brookfield project more than $20 million in incentives.

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But plans for the project were suspended over the last year as the coronavirus decimated malls across the country. Large mall operators like Brookfield were hit hard. The company soon fell behind on loan payments at various retail centers, and in some cases stopped paying mortgages or began handing back the keys to struggling properties. A recent report in Trepp found that Brookfield controlled two of the 11 malls whose valuations plummeted the most nationwide.

In October, Northbrook Court was also among the malls and hotels that Cook County reported had skipped their latest property tax payment, with the total for all adding up to nearly $500 million the county hadn’t collected.

Brookfield’s sinking fortunes was one of the reasons that its parent company, Brookfield Asset Management, agreed earlier this month to take it private in a deal worth $6.5 billion.

[Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman