Tales of Distressed Properties; Was "Originate-to-Distribute" Lending Model Flawed? (Tuesday's News & Notes)

Seems like I'm in a neverending game of catchup these days. Here are some interesting recent news and notes from around the retail real estate world.

  • Chris Macke, CEO of Chicago-based General Equity Real Estate, contributed a commentary to our sister publication NREI evaluating whether the "originate-to-distribute" model of lending was a culprit or a scapegoat in the lending mess we've seen in recent years. Macke argues that pinning the distress on a single source misses the point a bit. There were systemic problems at work, including issues with credit rating agencies.
  • A Las Vegas Sun piece looks at the unfinished Summerlin mall outside Las Vegas. It's a General Growth project that the paper calls a "monument to the recession." It is both the victim of General Growth's financial straits as well as the steep drop in the fortunes of the Las Vegas economy.
  • Tesco is making an interesting move into China where it has built a 30,000-square-meter shopping mall. It's the first mall the retailer has opened.
  • In the first big mass store closing announcement of the year, Foot Locker says it will close 117 stores.
  • The tales of distressed properties keep piling up. The Boston Herald reports on the Hanover Mall, which will be sold at a foreclosure auction on February 4.Walton Street Capital had a $87.5 million loan for the mall and was reported as being close to a default a month ago. Meanwhile, CoStar has a report on two properties in Florida going into receivership. Lastly, the Arizona Republic looks at the troubled histories of many of the components of the massive CityNorth project in Phoenix.
  • Embattled Opus Corp. has a new CEO. Timothy Becker, principal and co-founder of Maplewood-based Lighthouse Management Group Inc., is now the CEO of the firm, replacing Mark Rauenhorst, who had stepped down in October.
  • An ugly fight has broken out over the estate of Melvin Simon. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, Melvin Simon's daughter Deborah filed court papers Thursday afternoon charging her father was coerced into approving a new estate plan in February 2009 that dramatically increased the amount of his fortune going to her stepmother, Bren.
  • BNET has an analysis showing that grocers did very well this holiday shopping season.
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