West Park Mall to be sold to U.S. company
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Australia-based Centro Properties Group confirmed Tuesday that it will sell its 588 U.S. shopping malls, including West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau, to BRE Retail Holdings Inc., an affiliate of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI, LP, for $9.4 billion.
Blackstone is an asset management and financial services company based in New York.
Its purchase of Centro's malls is Blackstone's first major retail investment, company spokesman Peter Rose said.
"It's a combination of where we are in the cycle, i.e. coming out of a recession, and we saw good growth possibilities," Rose said.
The company also has a minority interest in General Growth Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns, develops, and operates regional shopping malls across the United States.
Since Blackstone's expertise is in finance, Rose said, it will hire managers who are more familiar with retail businesses. However, he said it is too soon to speculate on what specific staffing changes may occur.
"Hopefully, what people will see on the consumer end will be improvement," Rose said. "Our strategy is to improve our assets and create value that way."
Centro purchased West Park Mall 2006. It expects to close on the sale of its U.S. malls this summer. It will use proceeds from the sale to repay debt, according to a statement on its website.
3049 William Street, Cape Girardeau, Mo