Mall Operator URW Plans to Sell All US Properties

Mall Operator URW Plans to Sell All US Properties
URW owns Westfield Century City.

Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield plans to sell off its major U.S. holdings next year.

“We are assessing all potential options; at the end of the day, exposure to the U.S. will be minimal, if not zero,” Chief Executive Jean-Marie Tritant told reporters, including Yahoo Finance.

URW was formed in 2018 when Westfield was purchased by Unibail-Rodamco for nearly $25 billion.

Local Westfield properties are Westfield Century City, Westfield Culver City, Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, Santa Anita in Arcadia, Topanga & The Village in Canoga Park and Valencia Town Center.

The company will sell some smaller assets sooner.

The reason for the wait on selling bigger properties is to give the market some time to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tritant told reporters there was “no investment market in 2021.”

According to a Deloitte study, demand for hotel, retail and office space could see a double-digit decline in leasing activity over the next 18 months. The report argues that retail properties already faced difficulties prior to the pandemic due the rise of ecommerce, which has accelerated since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Global commercial real estate volume declined 36% year over year during the pandemic with U.S. retail price indexes declining 4.1%.

URW has had a rough year. In 2020, the company had only 70 days of normal operations, according to its earnings report.

The report said foot traffic at its U.S. centers was down 52% to 62% in the fourth quarter compared with the previous year. California centers were heavily impacted by regional stay-at-home orders, according to the company.

“We have realistic expectations for 2021 but are encouraged by the way footfall and sales bounced back strongly whenever restrictions were eased or lifted last year,” Tritant said in a statement.

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