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  • Writer's pictureAndre Watson

PREIT explores sale of Plymouth Meeting, Exton Square malls to shore up cash

PREIT owns the Plymouth Meeting Mall in Montgomery County.

PREIT said Thursday it’s still looking to sell Exton Square Mall, and now Plymouth Meeting Mall, the next move in its saga to generate cash with a pivotal loan deadline looming.

The Business Journal reported Exton Square Mall was under agreement last spring to sell to Brandywine Realty Trust for $28.8 million, but PREIT revealed the deal fell through in its annual report filed last month to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Brandywine declined to comment.

Meanwhile, as of the end of March, PREIT’s credit facilities had a balance of $995.8 million set to mature on Dec. 10. Philadelphia-based PREIT (OTCMKTS: PRET) has viewed property sales as a way to come up with money to pay down the debt, but a significant haul would be needed to match the nearly $1 billion owed.

During PREIT’s first quarter earnings call Thursday, CFO Mario Ventresca specified Exton Square Mall and Plymouth Meeting Mall as properties that could be sold.

“We have continued to evaluate opportunities for asset sales, including Exton Square and Plymouth Meeting Mall as well as our outparcels,” Ventresca said. “However, we are not prepared to disclose details at this time.”

Earlier this year, PREIT sold the Whole Foods parcel at Plymouth Meeting Mall for $27 million to Michigan-based Agree Realty (NYSE: ADC). The 65,000-square-foot grocery store opened in 2010 and has a long-term lease on the property. PREIT continues to own the rest of the mall outside the Whole Foods site.

Since the start of 2022, PREIT has made more than $140 million by selling off properties and has paid down $190 million in debt.

“The company is working to address the upcoming maturity by pursuing all available alternatives, including refinancing, selling assets and engaging in discussions with lenders," Ventresca said.

The 917,844-square-foot Plymouth Meeting Mall is 89% occupied and anchored by Boscov’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, AMC Theater and Legoland Discovery Center. Exton Square Mall, built in 1973 and spanning 990,145 square feet, is 53% occupied and anchored by Boscov’s and Macy’s.

In November 2020, PREIT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and emerged a month later. In December 2022, PREIT was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Now being sold over the counter, PREIT’s stock price was 90 cents at closing Wednesday.

PREIT on Thursday reported its first-quarter loss widened to $45.8 million, compared with $33 million in the year-ago period. Funds from operations declined to a loss of $3.05 per share, down from a loss of 21 cents in the year-ago period.

In another effort to buy time for approaching payment deadlines, PREIT extended the maturity for its Fashion District’s term loan to January 2024. PREIT owns a 50% share of the Fashion District in Center City with Macerich, but Macerich (NYSE: MAC) is the property’s controlling owner and decision-maker. PREIT also extended the mortgage loan on Cherry Hill Mall through Dec. 1 with an additional five-month extension option available.

As the future of its malls is in flux, PREIT has been aiming to receive approvals for up to 7,000 apartments on underused land on mall properties. The play would be to gain approvals, then sell the land to developers which is largely parking lots, another way of raising capital.

“We have demonstrated through our disposition history that we are open to selling assets,” PREIT CEO Joseph Coradino told analysts on Thursday, “and we continue to work toward finalizing the sale of our multifamily land and are exploring all possible options with our investment advisor.”

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