CBL expands reach in outlet centers

CBL expands reach in outlet centers

April 19th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. Staff file photo.


Name and size of development:

• The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso, 378,000 square feet

• The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, 370,000 square feet

• The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, 350,000 square feet

• The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, 250,000 square feet

Source: CBL

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. on Wednesday said it has acquired interests in two outlet centers for $108.7 million, expanding its reach in that retail segment.

The Chattanooga-based shopping center company has acquired a 75 percent interest in The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso, Texas, and a 50 percent interest in The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, Pa., officials said.

The operating outlet centers are owned and managed by Horizon Group Properties and its affiliates. CBL has worked with Horizon on a new outlet center in Oklahoma City that opened last year, and one is planned for Woodstock, Ga.

The total investment in the Texas and Pennsylvania centers includes $38.2 million cash as well as the assumption of $70.5 million of debt, which represents CBL's share of the deal.

"This acquisition allows us to grow our presence in the outlet center industry by investing in two established and successful centers," said Stephen Lebovitz, president and chief executive officer for CBL, in a statement.

He said CBL's partnership with Horizon already has been "extremely encouraging."

CBL is one of the largest owners and developers of malls and shopping centers in the United States. CBL owns, holds interests in or manages 157 properties in 27 states.

Katie Reinsmidt, CBL's vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, said outlet centers are a growing opportunity for the company.

She said the Oklahoma City center has been "a grand slam for us" and outperformed its expectations.

Meanwhile, space in the planned center in Woodstock outside Atlanta is 70 percent preleased or committed even before construction, Reinsmidt said.

"It makes sense for CBL to become involved in this retail format," she said.

Construction is slated to begin this spring at the Woodstock location, with a late summer 2013 opening.

Reinsmidt said retail experts have believed that customers of malls and outlet centers were different, and that's what CBL has found.

"It addressed a different need in the market," she said.