Sunland Park Mall owner files Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization
It will be business as usual for now at Sunland Park Mall, El Paso’s second-largest mall, after the company that owns it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday.
The operations of the Ohio-based Washington Prime Group have been damaged by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a company statement.
The mall, located at Interstate 10 and Sunland Park Drive in West El Paso, was in trouble long before the pandemic after losing major retail tenants in recent years.
Company officials in a press release said operations will continue as usual at its 102 retail centers during the bankruptcy reorganization process.
It has secured $ 100 million in new funding for day-to-day operations, the company reported.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for many businesses, including Washington Prime Group, making a Chapter 11 filing necessary to reduce the company’s unpaid debt,” a company statement said.
The business will remain in business, but officials of a bankruptcy question-and-answer sheet have not ruled out selling the business in the future.
Its share price closed at $ 3.38 per share on Monday, down $ 1.46 per share on the New York Stock Exchange.
Customer traffic at the mall has dropped significantly in recent years after lost several major retail stores, including Macy’s, Sears and Forever 21. Last year, Cinemark closed its six-screen Movie Bistro.
Starr Western Wear of El Paso purchased the Macy’s Mall building and opened a store there in 2018.
Two Dillard’s department stores are the mall’s other major retail stores.
The 67.4% occupancy rate of the 918,476-square-foot mall at the end of 2020 was the second-lowest occupancy rate in Washington Prime’s portfolio, according to the company’s financial documents. More than half of its malls had occupancy rates above 90% at the end of last year, the data showed.
In recent years, the Sunland Park Mall has attracted mainly small retailers, service providers and food stores, including many locals, to fill vacancies. Last week, the management of the mall announced the opening of seven new food courts and five new small stores.
The management of the mall has also taken other steps in an attempt to increase customer traffic, including opening of a private volleyball court inside the shopping center for an El Paso volleyball club.
It has around 90 tenants, including retail stores, service providers and 17 food and beverage outlets, according to the mall’s online directory and other mall information.
He even has a church, Sound Word Worship Center, as a tenant.
Sunland Park Mall general manager Kelley Baker asked a spokesperson for Washington Prime about it, who said in an email that Sunland Parks’ operations, including leasing and property management , would continue as usual during the bankruptcy reorganization.
The more than 900,000 square feet of the 32-year-old mall makes it the second largest mall in El Paso behind the 1.2 million square feet of the Cielo Vista mall.
The valuation of Sunland Park properties has declined significantly in recent years. The tax-linked assessment proposed by the El Paso Central Assessment District for 2021 is $ 26.5 million, down 37% from $ 42.1 million in 2016, according to district data. .