Will it be L.A.’s Del Amo Fashion Center or San Francisco’s Great Mall of the Bay Area? Real estate execs are wondering which of the two California properties is about to fall into Mills Corp.’s portfolio. On Friday, the Arlington, Va.-based REIT filed an 8K disclosing it has entered into an agreement "to purchase an existing mall property in California for a price in excess of $400 million."
Mills isn’t commenting on the disclosure, a requirement given the REIT’s pending preferred equity issuance. Citigroup Smith Barney analyst Jonathan Litt says industry insiders say Del Amo’s the one. The 3 million-square-foot mall, currently owned by Torrance Co., is anchored by a mixed bag of off-price and traditional department stores including Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears, TJMaxx, Burlington Coat Factory and Jo-Ann Etc. Litt says Del Amo fits Mills’ new interest in repositioning existing mall properties with entertainment anchors and more off-price tenants.
But the deal could still fall through, according to Mills’ 8K, "The agreement provides for closing to occur during or before the third quarter of 2003, and is subject to continuing due diligence…there can be no assurance that we will acquire the property."