Thursday, February 10, 2011

Queens Center Mall Owner Buys Atlas Park by Joe Anuta

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Macerich, the company that owns Queen Center Mall, will take over The Shops at Atlas Park Feb. 28

Macerich, the company that owns Queen Center Mall, will take over The Shops at Atlas Park Feb. 28, emerging as the winning bidder after a Chicago-based developer representing the shopping center giant offered $53.75 million at a foreclosure auction.

“Once they fully close on the purchase, we can finally move forward with developing Glendale’s own shopping center,” City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said in a statement.

She will meet with the California-based Macerich this week to discuss the troubled Cooper Street mall’s future.

Crowley said she was hopeful the mall would be a boon to the community.

“The community welcomes the new leadership with open arms and is eager to help Atlas become an engine for economic growth,” she said.

Macerich did not show up at the Jan. 28 foreclosure auction, and the company’s involvement in the purchase was shrouded by a series of affiliations with other companies.

David Joseph was the representative who placed the bid at the auction, but his company was listed as “WMAP LLC.” Even so, according to Paul Millus, a lawyer who has run the mall since the bank foreclosed the $127 million loan in February 2009, Joseph is actually a principal at a Chicago company, Walton Street Capital, which made the purchase.

And now, according to Crowley, Macerich is the company behind the purchase and will run the mall by the end of the month.

The relationship between Macerich and Walton Street Capital was not known.

The Shops at Atlas Park started as Damon Hemmerdinger’s vision of high-end retail in Glendale about five years ago. He was the owner of the shops until 2009, but that vision did not pan out.

In February 2009, Hemmerdinger’s creditor, France-based Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, foreclosed the loan and turned over the shops to Millus, the court-appointed receiver who ran the mall during its bankruptcy proceedings.