Westfield Louis Joliet mall sold
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org April 18, 2012 11:46AM
Westfield Group announced Wednesday, April 18, that Louis Joliet and seven other shopping centers have been sold for $1.5 billion. File photo | Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:36AM
JOLIET — The 34-year-old Westfield Louis Joliet mall is being sold.
Westfield Group announced Wednesday that Louis Joliet and seven other shopping centers, including the company’s mall in Chicago Ridge, will be sold for $1.5 billion. The deal is expected to close sometime this quarter.
Starwood Capital Group will hold the majority interest in seven of the centers while the eighth, Eastland in West Covina, Calif., is being sold in a separate transaction.
John Melaniphy, president of the Chicago-based retail consulting firm Melaniphy & Associates, said Westfield sold Louis Joliet mall because the company considers it a “B” level mall, based on its store mix and retail sales per square foot. Louis Joliet doesn’t have a Nordstrom’s, a Bloomingdale’s, a Saks Fifth Avenue or a Neiman Marcus, he said.
However, Melaniphy believes the Louis Joliet mall is an “A” mall based on retail sales. According to Melaniphy’s most recent report, the Joliet/Plainfield mall area had $2.3 billion in sales in 2011, up $78.1 million from 2010, placing it in third place behind the Westfield Fox Valley and Woodfield core sales areas. (Fox Valley in Aurora is not being sold.)
“We consider that Louis Joliet mall to be a significant mall and a good performer,” he said.
Starwood, which is diversifying its hotel business, probably will hold on to the malls and sell them for a higher price when the economy fully recovers, he said.
“Of all of the malls Starwood is buying, this is one of the best,” he said of the 971,025-square-foot Louis Joliet mall, which is close to being 100 percent occupied.
Apparel sales, which are a good indicator of mall health, were strong in Joliet last year, increasing from $47.7 million to $88.95 million.
“That’s up 84.95 percent,” Melaniphy said. “You lead the league, that’s a huge increase.”
In a statement, Westfield Co-CEO Peter Lowry said proceeds from the sale would be used to pay down corporate debt.
Westfield America Trust bought the Louis Joliet mall in 2003 for $92.5 million from New York-based Blackstone Group. The Joliet mall on Route 30 near Interstate 55 opened in August 1978.