Monday, February 7, 2011

Queens Center Mall Owners Snap Up Rival at Foreclosure Sale by Nicholas Hirshon - NY Daily News

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THE FIRM that runs Queens Center Mall, among the nation's busiest shopping centers, landed a struggling rival complex at a recent foreclosure auction.

Sources revealed yesterday that mall giant Macerich was the mystery bidder that snared the Shops at Atlas Park for about $54 million at a highly anticipated sale last week at Queens Supreme Court.
That places two of the borough's largest malls in the same hands.
Though Macerich President Edward Coppola attended the sale on Friday, the group's involvement was initially unknown because it had created a shell corporation named WMAP LLC to bid.
Several insiders confirmed the Macerich link yesterday, including City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).
Locals heralded the news.
"They have all the repertoire of shops across the country," said Vincent Arcuri, 71, chairman of Community Board 5 in Glendale. "They should be able to bring in new vital businesses."
Atlas Park was unveiled in 2006 as an outdoor "lifestyle center," but its mix of restaurants and boutiques slumped through recent years. Some residents complained the stores were too upscale in the middle-class area.
Its owners, the family of ex-MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger, defaulted on a $128 million loan to two French banks in 2009, initiating foreclosure.
Storeowners hope Macerich can turn around Atlas Park by employing the same strategies it used to lure tenants to Queens Center after buying the mall in 1995. It now boasts the highest revenue per square foot of any mall in the U.S.
"They're just really excited, eager to basically have a rebirth," said attorney Boris Sorin, who represents eight Atlas Park shops.
Macerich spokeswoman Anita Walker declined to comment, citing a company policy against discussing newly acquired property until the sale has closed. That is set to happen by Feb. 28.