Westfield Shrinking Mall portfolio shows industry division

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Large real estate owners are looking to unload more malls through sales or by allowing lenders to take over, thereby sidelining a recovery in the mall sector as more Americans get vaccinated.

Global shopping center operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, for its part, sold three shopping centers in the United States last year. The Paris-based company intends to further reduce its current portfolio of 25 properties in the United States in order to reduce its level of debt, executives said during an earnings call last week.

One of Europe’s largest commercial real estate companies, Unibail-Rodamco bought Westfield Group in 2018 for almost $ 16 billion. The mall operator has acquired 33 properties in the United States, including large-scale shopping malls such as the Westfield World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Westfield Garden State Plaza in neighboring Bergen County, New Jersey.

The company’s recent withdrawal from the United States shows just how further the pandemic is dividing the commercial real estate world.

Leading Class A shopping center owners do well and earn the highest rents in the market. These more modern and better quality properties have fine dining restaurants and upscale boutiques. They are usually located in affluent neighborhoods, where residents have overcome the pandemic with their jobs intact and are impatiently spending again.


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