Shopping Centers Today International

FEB 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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T H E C O M M O N A R E A 12 S C T / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 6 Taubman Centers and Macerich are buying Country Club Plaza, one of America's most historic shopping devel- opments. The two firms are paying $660 million for equal stakes in the Kansas City, Mo., property, which they will manage jointly. Opened in 1922, Country Club Plaza occupies 15 blocks in the heart of Kansas City. Its developer, Jesse Clyde Nichols, conceived it as a collection of selected retailers to serve the city's affluent Coun- try Club District. The Spanish-themed, open-air center features stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, lavish landscaping and such adornments as Grecian urns, marble statuary, bronze fountains and wrought-iron gating. There is abundant free parking, hidden from view by deco- rative brick walls. As such, Country Club Plaza could be seen as the first lifestyle center and also as the first retail develop- ment designed to accommodate cars. Country Club Plaza offers 804,000 square feet of retail gross leasable area and 468,000 square feet of office space. The retail tenants include Apple, H&M, Lululemon and Tesla, plus several restau- rants. Taubman and Macerich, operating as Country Club Plaza KC Partners LLC, will be Country Club Plaza's third set of owners. Currently, Highwoods Proper- ties is owner. "Taubman and Macerich are bring- ing our collective expertise together to continue to ensure the long-term growth and success of the iconic Country Club Plaza," said Robert S. Taubman, chair- man, president and CEO of Taubman Centers. "This purchase is consistent with our strategy to own high-quality, dominant assets in great markets." For Macerich, the acquisition arises from a strategy to transform its portfolio with high-performing assets. "This invest- ment represents the latest example of Macerich's continuing strategy of recy- cling capital out of slower-growth assets, including Panorama Mall [Panorama City, Calif.], which we recently sold for $100 million, into truly irreplaceable, market-dominant centers with stronger growth prospects," said Arthur M. Cop- pola, chairman and CEO of Macerich. "Together with Taubman, we see oppor- tunities to expand the market reach of the Plaza, as well as the potential for further retail densification of this timeless asset." The transaction, which has received the approval of the boards of both firms, is subject to the customary conditions and is expected to close sometime during this first quarter. Hong Kong–based mall developer China Properties Group took out full-page ads in the International New York Times to urge readers to "say no to online shopping." Observers say this may be the first time Chinese businesses have attacked each other in the foreign press, a sign of growing competition between the two retail chan- nels. The ads say online shopping lacks humanity and encourages counterfeits. In the ads, the landlord says it has set aside 300 rent- free stores for e-tailers seeking to expand offline. Hong Kong landlord takes on e-tail Taubman, Macerich buy Country Club Plaza

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