The Washington Post

Vornado to sell Springfield Town Center for $465 million

A demolition worker positions himself to cut steel beams out of the Springfield Mall. The new Springfield Town Center is expected to open in fall of 2014. (Shamus Ian Fatzinger)

Vornado Realty Trust, the New York firm that is turning the former Springfield Mall into Springfield Town Center, announced a deal Monday to sell the property for $465 million to Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.

The mall’s overhaul is still underway, with completion slated in October. The purchase deal, in which Vornado will receive $340 million in cash and a $125 million stake in the property’s new owner, is expected to close no later than March 31.

Springfield Mall opened in the mid-1970s and became a destination for department storegoers in Northern Virginia. But as the mall began to fall out of favor with shoppers and the Tysons Corner malls increased their dominance, Vornado in 2012 launched a major project to remake the property.

Since then it has been signing new shops and restaurants in advance of its reopening.

Among the names Vornado has inked for the new Springfield Town Center are Chico’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Francesca’s Collection, H&M, LA Fitness, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Michael Kors, Pandora, Regal Cinema, TopShop (the British fashion retailer ), Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill and Yard House Restaurant.

The envisioned Springfield Town Center where Springfield Mall now stands. (Vornado Realty Trust/VRT)

Located off Interstate 95 just south of the Capital Beltway, the property includes 1.35 million square feet of retail space — comprised of 642,000 square feet of anchor space and 703,000 square feet of non-anchor space. The non-anchor space is about 30 percent leased, according to PREIT.

Vornado will be responsible for completing the renovation of the non-anchor retail space, and the two firms will share responsibility for leasing the property through closing.

Eventually, the 78-acre site is expected to develop into much more than a mall. Fairfax County has approved a plan to build office space, 2,000 residential units, a 225-room hotel and more retail nearby.

Joseph Coradino, chief executive of Philadelphia-based PREIT, issued a statement calling the deal “transformative for PREIT in our evolution into a quality mall owner with a strong presence in major markets.” The company has been moving to upgrade the overall quality of its holdings.

“The opportunity to acquire a property of this caliber is rare and, in light of having achieved balance sheet and operational stability and divested several of our lower quality malls, we are well positioned to leverage PREIT’s value creation capabilities to realize this asset’s potential,” he said in a news release.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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