Group plans to sell Washington Crown Center

  • Staff and Wire Reports
January 5, 2015
Washington Crown Center in North Franklin Township will soon be for sale. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The real estate investment trust that owns Washington Crown Center said Monday it plans to put the North Franklin Township mall up for sale this year.

Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust said in a news release the local mall is among five – the list also includes Uniontown Mall – that it will seek to divest from its portfolio in 2015.

Other malls on the divestiture list are Lycoming Mall in Williamsport, Springfield Mall in Springfield and Palmer Park Mall in Easton.

PREIT said the malls it targeted to sell are part of a continuing plan to divest itself of noncore assets “to improve overall portfolio quality and focus resources on assets that represent the greatest value-creation opportunities.”

The company noted that in 2014 it successfully completed the sale of eight properties for $191.7 million.

PREIT said it began its disposition program in 2012 and sold its interests in 16 assets to date, including six noncore enclosed malls that generated average sales per square foot of less than $250. The interests sold had a total value of $424.1 million.

PREIT has owned Washington Crown Center since November 2003, when it completed a merger with Crown American Realty Trust, which owned 26 malls.

The investment company put considerable effort into upgrading the 676,000-square-foot center with nearly 85,000 square feet of new retail attractions over the past year.

Five tenants moved in and two others remodeled their spaces during 2014, following the fourth-quarter 2013 opening of Marshalls, one of the country’s largest chains of off-price department stores.

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft, Ross Dress for Less, Ulta cosmetics, Books A Million! and Encore By Shoe Dept. debuted at the shopping venue, while Kay Jewelers and Europe Nails refurbished their stores.

PREIT is a real estate investment trust specializing in the ownership and management of retail shopping malls. Founded in 1960, the company owns and operates more than 29 million square feet of space in properties in 12 states in the eastern half of the United States, with concentration in the Mid-Atlantic region and Greater Philadelphia.

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