Apartment Investors Mull Opportunities in Distressed Malls

Developers have proposed to redevelop more than a hundred malls into mixed-used properties with apartments.

Apartment dealmakers may find an opportunity to build new apartments around the shells of under-performing or empty regional malls. Hundreds of troubled shopping malls may be seized by lenders over the next year, experts say.

“In the current market with the pandemic, the number of properties considering this kind of redevelopment has multiplied three or four-fold,” says Brian McAuliffe, president of CBRE Capital Markets and leader of the firm’s multifamily sales business, working in the firms Chicago office.

Regional malls, class-B and class-C shopping centers in deep trouble

The pandemic has put tremendous pressure on many shopping malls. Hundreds have lost many of their largest, most important retail tenants as department store chains like J.C. Penney and Lord & Taylor declared bankruptcy and others scale back in the chaos caused by the coronavirus.

The vast majority of class-B and class-C malls have lost at least one anchor tenant, according to research from Green Street Advisors. That adds up to several hundred properties that have lost a significant part of their income.

Trepp has identified more than 100 properties that owners may soon surrender to lenders, more than a quarter of those are regional malls.

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