(Source: Wall Street Journal)

The Queens Center Mall doesn’t seem to have followed the dour shopping-center story line of this recession.

Sales per square foot actually ticked up in 2008 to $876, and year-end occupancy stood at 97.5%. In the food court, 20-year-old shopper Mario Ontaneda, wearing a cap and jeans he purchased from stores in the mall, said: “I need to save up, but I’m constantly buying stuff.”

The strong performance of Queens Center Mall, located in New York’s borough of Queens, helps to explain why Cadillac Fairview Corp. agreed to pay $150 million and to assume $167 million in mortgage debt to acquire a 49% stake in the mall last week. Cadillac is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Macerich Co., the Santa Monica, Calif., real-estate investment trust, sold a stake in the one-million-square-foot mall as part of a broader plan to reduce debt.

The deal is among a few early signs that pension funds, a huge source of real-estate capital, are looking at new property investments even as they lick their wounds from past deals.

Read Anton Troianovski’s full article “As Values Decline, Pension Funds Jump Into Real Estate” in the Wall Street Journal (August 5, 2009).

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