PREIT sells Voorhees Town Center after learning an anchor store will close

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust has sold Voorhees Town Center after learning that one of the South Jersey shopping mall's anchor stores planned to close, PREIT chief executive Joseph Coradino said Wednesday.

The sale was in response to an unsolicited offer for the 732,000-square-foot mall, which is anchored by Macy's and Boscov's department stores, Coradino told investment analysts in a conference call.

"Voorhees Town Center had the lowest sales in our portfolio," he said. "We were unofficially informed that one of the anchors plans to close their store and believe it was an opportune time to . . . execute on this sale."

Coradino did not specify which of the anchor stores had indicated that it would close, or nor did he identify the mall's buyer.

Macy's Inc. said in September that it planned to close 35 to 40 "underperforming" stores in early 2016, representing about 1 percent of total sales. Spokesman Jim Sluzewski said in an email that the company had not decided which locations will be closed and would not speculate on closures until that selection is made.

"It's business as usual at Macy's at Voorhees Town Center," he said, noting that Macy's owns its store there.

Phone messages left with Boscov's Investment Co. on Wednesday were not returned.

The sale comes as PREIT, owner of the Cherry Hill and Willow Grove Park Malls and a partner in the $325 million redevelopment of the Gallery at Market East shopping mall in Center City, sells off assets seen as outside its core business.

The company has sold eight malls as part of a strategy aimed at improving the performance of its remaining portfolio, it said in a statement.

Coradino said the company was also in the process of selling three Pennsylvania properties: Lycoming Mall near Williamsport; Palmer Park Mall in Easton; and Washington Crown Center in Washington.

Three other malls, in Alabama and Virginia, are under contract by an institutional buyer, he said.

The sale price for Voorhees Town Center was $13.4 million in a transaction that also included "credits" granted to the buyer, the company said. Those credits accounted for the difference between an earlier agreed-upon price and the amount ultimately paid by the buyer, PREIT said.

Coradino also said PREIT and Macerich, its partner in the Gallery project, were negotiating with potential anchor tenants for the redeveloped mall.

The companies anticipated having those leases in place by year's end at the property, which is being rebranded as Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

jadelman@phillynews.com

215-854-2615 @jacobadelman

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