PHILADELPHIA —The owner of Exton Square Mall in West Whiteland has entered into an agreement to sell the property.
The announcement was made during a 20-minute earnings call Tuesday, March 15, as the mall’s owner PREIT (Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust) discussed 2021 year-end and first quarter 2022 results.
PREIT Chairman and CEO Joseph Coradino said the company had executed an agreement of sale late Monday to sell the mall to a developer.
No specifics were provided, in terms of sale price or who the buyer is.
“As we have said previously, this property is better suited as mixed-use,” Coradino said on the call. “This sale will allow the builder to fulfill that destiny.”
Exton Square Mall has just over 1 million square feet of space, is 52% occupied and has sales of $283 per square foot, according to information on the PREIT website.
The company expects to close on the sale within 90 days.
In addition to Exton Square in West Whiteland, PREIT owns and manages five other Pennsylvania mall properties, including Plymouth Meeting Mall in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County; Willow Grove Park Mall in Willow Grove, Montgomery County; and Springfield Mall in Springfield, Delaware County.
The sale of Exton Square Mall is part of a three-part strategy to improve PREIT’s portfolio by taking advantage of “robust sales and demand for space” while reducing debt, Coradino said.
The company is working to return to compliance with the New York Stock Exchange, which said in February PREIT was in danger of being delisted. PREIT received formal notice on Feb. 4 that it was non-compliant with the stock exchange’s continued listing standards. Those standards require common stock to maintain a minimum average closing price of $1.00 per share over a consecutive 30-trading day period. The company has until Aug. 4 to resolve the issue.
The company’s stock closed at 75-cents per share on March 16, and as of 12 p.m. Wednesday, it was trading at 76-cents per share.
Coradino said he believes executing on the company’s plan to bring in capital to reduce debt and continue to execute operationally will “alleviate the need to take other action”
The company reported a net loss of $34.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 or 43-cents per share.
In 2021 the company executed transactions for nearly three times as much space as 2019 — nearly 500,000 square feet. As a result, PREIT’s core mall tenancy stands at 93%.
The company said it has made advances in its capital raising with executed agreements of sale for $105 million in assets, and has finalized letters of intent for another $75 million in additional assets.
Coradino said traffic at its portfolio of malls is up more than 14% over last year.
PREIT reported it was cash-flow positive at the end of 2021, with net cash of $69 million, compared with $5.9 million at the end of 2020. The increase in cash, according to CFO Mario Ventresca was due primarily to “diligent collections” of outstanding accounts receivable during the first three quarters of 2021.
There were no questions taken from analysts during the call. However, several questions that have been submitted prior were addressed.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, PREIT owns and manages retail shopping malls in 12 states in the eastern U.S. with a concentration in the Mid-Atlantic and Greater Philadelphia region.