Palm Beach Mall could be on the market

The Palm Beach Mall, West Palm Beach’s biggest enclosed shopping center, may be on the block.

Real estate professionals told the Palm Beach Post that the mall’s owner, Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, is quietly seeking to sell the 41-year-old facility.

But Simon denied that it is trying to unload the mall. “We aren’t making inquiries,” Simon spokesman Les Morris told The Real Deal.

Instead, the company is going through with a plan to redevelop the center, he said. The redevelopment would turn the property into a mixed-use destination including about 1 million square feet of general retail space, a 290,000 square foot furniture store (reportedly IKEA), 300,000 square feet of office space and 500 residential units.

The mall now occupies about 1.08 million square feet and is anchored by Macy’s, Sears, JC Penney and Dillard’s.

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“The approval process for the redevelopment has already commenced and involves state, county and city levels of government,” Morris said. The company expects site approval from West Palm Beach late this year or early 2009.

Of course, if Simon is shopping the Palm Beach Mall, it would probably want to keep that fact quiet.

The center has lost customers to the tony Palm Beach Gardens Mall about 10 miles north. And several retailers, including Borders books, have exited the facility in recent years.

Still, “It’s certainly a wonderful piece of property and would attract a lot of interest from possible buyers,” said Rebel Cook, an independent broker-dealer in Palm Beach Gardens. “It has potential as a power center with big retailers,” though that might be difficult in this economy.