Paris-based property giant Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has taken another step in departing the U.S. in a deal that has seen billionaire Stan Kroenke add another mall to his growing portfolio.
And for this one, he might just be ready to touch down with NFL Super Bowl champions the LA Rams.
That’s because a company led by Los Angeles Rams owner Kroenke has bought The Village mall in the club’s home city for $325 million in a deal that marks the latest disposal by global property giant Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) as it continues its exit from the U.S. retail market.
The Kroenke Organization acquired the 600,000 sq. ft. outdoor lifestyle center The Village, located in the San Fernando Valley area, as URW completed what is among the largest commercial property sales of the past 12 months in Los Angeles.
The deal is not a surprise.
News reports had surfaced in Los Angeles as long as a year back that Kroenke was in discussions with URW about acquiring one of its properties with the aim of making it the site of the team’s headquarters.
While NFL teams unsurprisingly have their training facilities located close to their stadiums, the Rams share SoFi Stadium in LA with rivals the Chargers, who last year completed a deal to relocate their training facility from Costa Mesa to El Segundo.
URW Divests U.S. Malls
News of the deal comes after URW sold the 1.5 million sq.-ft. Westfield Santa Anita mall in Arcadia, Ca. for $537.5 million in September — which was the highest price paid for a U.S. mall in five years — to southern California real estate investor Wen Shan Chang.
In fact, the sale of The Village, built in 2015, became the second largest of 2022 following its completion, only behind Westfield Santa Anita.
The deal, completed December 30, is also “another step in the streamlining of our U.S. regional asset portfolio as part of our wider plan to radically reduce our financial exposure in the U.S., and demonstrates the continued investor interest in high quality assets with strong operating performance,” URW Chief Financial Officer, Fabrice Mouchel, said in a company statement.
The transaction did not include the neighboring Westfield Topanga property, which has been under redevelopment over the past two years.
URW first announced in 2021 that it intended to sell off all 24 of its U.S. properties, valued at about $13 billion, by the end of 2023, following investor pressure and a subsequent change in leadership.
Westfield Mall Deals Add Up
The latest deal brings URW’s proceeds to date from its U.S. sales to $1.3 billion, the company confirmed.
Prior sales included two other Southern California properties during the past two years. URW sold a development parcel at its Westfield Promenade property in Woodland Hills for $150 million to a private investment group that included Kroenke’s company.
It also parted with a 50% stake in its Palisade apartment building at Westfield UTC in San Diego for $119 million to J.P. Morgan Chase.
On December 30, URW further completed the sale of Westfield Trumbull mall in Trumbull, Conn., and Westfield South Shore mall in Bay Shore, N.Y., to a commercial real estate investment firm for a total of $196 million.
For his part, Kroenke’s company has developed several retail, apartment and sports facilities over the past 40 years, most recently the $5.5 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., and the business operates retail centers in 39 states totaling circa 40 million sq. ft.
URW sought to expand its reach into the U.S. market with the acquisition of Westfield in 2018 and divestments include The Village, Westfield Santa Anita, the Promenade development parcel, and the Palisade residential building, plus the ownership transfer of five other regional properties.