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Vintage Real Estate Acquires The Mall at Whitney Field.

The Mall at Whitney Field

May 30, 2013 — Fred Sands, chairman of Vintage Real Estate, today announced the acquisition of The Mall at Whitney Field, a 700,000-square-foot regional center set on 75 acres in Leominster, Mass., which is 35 miles west of Boston. The mall is anchored by Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney, Market Basket grocery, Toys R Us and Old Navy with approximately 70 additional retailers and restaurants.

Concurrent with the acquisition, Vintage has executed a 10-year lease with Burlington Coat Factory for the 66,000-square-foot former Circuit City store, which has been vacant since the Circuit City bankruptcy in 2008. Burlington Coat Factory, a major retailer with more than 450 stores nationwide, is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2014.

“The Mall at Whitney Field remains a dominant retail center in the area. Our ability to immediately fill a large and long-vacant space is a testament to the strength of the market and our leasing and management team that is overseeing the property,” said Sands, adding that "this is the company's second regional mall acquisition in six months."

The mall was sold in 2007 for $82 million, which included the assumption of a $74.5 million loan. The lender foreclosed on the mall in November 2010, with a $72.2 million loan balance, and it was marketed for sale by Eastdil. Vintage Real Estate will oversee operation of the mall, including marketing and leasing.

Located at 100 Commercial Road, The Mall at Whitney Field serves the more than 165,000 people within a 10-mile radius, where the average annual household income is above $79,324.

“The mall has done remarkably well given the circumstances of the economic downturn and its foreclosure. In addition to substantial anchor tenants, the mall has an attractive array of retail and restaurants including Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Justice, Payless Shoes and Panera Bread, and we are working with numerous retailers to fill some open spaces,” noted Roger Burghdorf, Executive Vice President of Leasing for Vintage Real Estate. The mall’s average sales per square foot for non-anchor tenants is $355, which is above the national average.

Built in 1967, the mall was remodeled in 2001. Vintage plans to refresh the center’s interior and is currently outlining its program that may include improved lighting, new paint, fixtures and furniture.

Recently Vintage has focused on expanding its portfolio of regional malls. In addition to The Mall at Whitney Field, Vintage acquired the 406,500-square-foot Heritage Mall in Albany, Oregon in December 2012. The company also just broke ground on the expansion and renovation of The Village at Nellie Gail Ranch, a 100,000 square foot neighborhood center in Laguna Hills, Calif., which will be home to the first Fresh Market grocery in Southern California. Vintage also is underway on a renovation at its 1.1 million-square-foot SouthBay Pavilion mall in Carson, Calif., adding a 14-screen Cinemark Theatre complex.

“We continue to seek special situation retail properties, like The Mall at Whitney Field, throughout the U.S.,” Sands concluded.