Lakeforest mall in Gaithersburg is for sale.
lThe struggling, 1.04 million-square-foot mall, 701 Russell Ave., has been listed by real estate investment bank Eastdil Secured of New York, according to online reports. An Eastdil representative did not return two phone messages seeking comment.
The owners, General Motors Asset Management and Simon Property Group, were forced to put the property on the market after failing in July to refinance a $138.7 million loan that had matured, according to Frank A. Innaurato, managing director of commercial mortgage banking services' analytical services for financial services company Morningstar.
A forbearance agreement has been executed to allow the owners time to market and sell the property, Innaurato said in an email Monday. The loan was 30 days delinquent this month.
Tom Lonergan, the city of Gaithersburg’s economic development director, declined Monday to comment on the mall’s current financial state, but said the city is in constant communication with mall management regarding the sale.
The mall’s success is important to the city, he said, and the city looks forward to working with new owners.
“Having an enclosed mall within the city limits that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue and attracts people to eat and shop is something that we support,” Lonergan said. “We want the mall to succeed.”
Les Morris, a spokesman for Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, which owns 25 percent of the mall space and manages it, said his company does not comment on dispositions or acquisitions of malls.
Lonergan said he had a meeting last week with the mall’s new manager, Steve Andrews of Simon Property, who recently took over for Nathan Centeno. Andrews will join the city’s economic development committee and continue to work with the city, he said.
Andrews could not be reached for comment Monday.
The mall, which opened in 1978, has four anchors — Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears, which all own their own space. Other chain retailers include Radio Shack, Brookstone, American Eagle Outfitters, Foot Locker and Victoria’s Secret.
In September, Innaurato said the estimated appraised value of the mall was $138.2 million.
As of December 2010, total mall occupancy was at 68 percent, Innaurato said.
Lonergan said he did not want to speculate the mall’s future, but it will depend on the market, and the current and future owners.