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Published: Saturday, 11/23/2013 - Updated: 12 months ago

New owners revive Franklin Park Mall

Retail center is 1 of 7 bought by Starwood

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Temporary signage has been put up for the Franklin Park Mall along Sylvania Avenue in West Toledo. Temporary signage has been put up for the Franklin Park Mall along Sylvania Avenue in West Toledo.
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After 11 years under another name, Toledo’s premier enclosed shopping property is once again Franklin Park Mall.

Earlier this week, private equity firm Starwood Capital Group of Greenwich, Conn., completed its $1.64 billion purchase of Franklin Park and six other malls owned by the Australian-based Westfield Group, and the first move made was to change the name.

Since January, 2002, the mall has been under the Westfield brand, first Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park, and later just Westfield Franklin Park.

Starwood, which announced its tentative purchase of the seven malls in September, put up temporary signs announcing the name change after it completed the purchase on Monday.

Tom Johnson, a Starwood spokesman, said the company plans to put up permanent Franklin Park Mall signs early next year.

Starwood is the majority owner but Westfield retains a 10 percent common equity interest in the properties.

Included in the deal were Westfield’s other two Ohio properties, Belden Village Mall near Canton and Great Northern Mall in suburban Cleveland. Also sold were Westfield malls in Indiana and Washington and two in California.

With the completion of the deal, Starwood owns 17 mall properties and nearly 18 million square feet of retail space. It also owns two retail centers that are not enclosed.

Starwood Capital will control the malls through its wholly-owned operating group, Starwood Retail Partners of Chicago, which will manage and lease space in the malls. Management teams at Franklin Park and the six other malls have been retained.

Starwood officials would not comment on any plans they have for Franklin Park, which first opened in 1971 and has 1.2 million square feet.

“Over the last 18 months, we have assembled a portfolio of 19 high-quality regional malls and retail centers with an aggregate purchase price of $3.2 billion. We believe that regional shopping malls offer an attractive value proposition for our partners. We look forward to selectively pursuing new opportunities to expand our portfolio,” Scott Wolstein, chief executive officer of Starwood Retail Partners, said in a statement.

Jeff Shuster, vice president of Starwood Capital Group, said in a statement that the firm will “invest fresh capital across the portfolio to improve the assets, attract new tenants, and position the malls to continue to best serve their local communities.”

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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