A Connecticut REIT is on a shopping spree, and it has its eye on one of Richmond’s largest malls.
Starwood Capital Group will buy Stony Point Fashion Park in a $1.4 billion deal that also includes Norfolk’s MacArthur Center and five other malls owned by Michigan-based Taubman Centers. The deal, announced Wednesday, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Earlier this year, Taubman paid off a nearly $100 million mortgage backed by the 10-year-old Southside mall. The decision to pay down the loan was not linked with the mall’s forthcoming sale, Taubman spokesman Christopher Tennyson said.
“We call it recycling our capital,” Tennyson said. “We look for opportunities where we’ve created assets and capital, and we’re always willing to sell if we feel like we can get a price that makes it attractive for us to move forward and invest in other things.”
Taubman will make about $785 million from the sale, and Starwood will either repay or take on another $620 million in debt on the properties as part of the deal.
Taubman would not provide an exact figure specifically for Stony Point mall’s portion of the sales price.
The Stony Point deal will not include Dillard’s or the Saks Fifth Avenue. Both of those anchor stores own their own buildings at the mall. Taubman will also maintain ownership of a pair of undeveloped parcels surrounding Stony Point, including a 27-acre plot being eyed for a 282-unit apartment complex.
Stony Point was developed by Taubman about 10 years ago, and the 662,000 -square-foot mall mall opened the same month that Short Pump Town Center hit the market in Henrico County.
Selling off Stony Point will end Taubman’s retail run in the Richmond region. The REIT previously owned Regency Square Mall before turning it over to its lender in a 2012 deed-in-lieu of foreclosure deal.
Stony Point has seen a shuffling of tenants since the first of the year. The center lost Champps Americana in February after the restaurant’s parent company filed for bankruptcy and closed several stores nationwide. Starbucks pulled out of Stony Point that same week.
But new tenants have also signed on for space at the mall, including the Daily Grind Coffee and Les Crepes.
Charlie Polk, a commercial real estate broker with JLL, said Stony Point continues to perform well, adding that the Champps and Starbucks losses were isolated cases, not indications that the mall itself is struggling.
Stony Point did about $110 million worth of sales in 2012, up from just shy of $98 million the previous year, according to figures from the city.
“If you look at their sales relative to other malls, they’re doing just fine,” Polk said. “The demographics around Stony Point make a great short- and long-term location for office, retail, medical and multifamily, and that’s not going to change any time soon.”
After the deal closes, Stony Point will become the third Richmond mall to change hands since last year. Chesterfield Towne Center was purchased by Rouse Properties as part of a multi-mall acquisition last December. Australian investment firm QIC bought a 33 percent share in Short Pump Town Center in September.