BREAKING NEWS (updated at 12 p.m. on Thursday, March 27)

Two commercial-property companies purchase Crestwood mall

By BURKE WASSON

Two commercial-property companies — Centrum Properties of Chicago and New York-based Angelo, Gordon & Co. — purchased the Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood on Wednesday.

Andrew Jacobs, a director with Angelo, Gordon & Co., declined to reveal the sale price of the mall, but did say that the two companies now are working to redevelop the mall property.

“It’s us with Centrum,” Jacobs said. “They’re our operating partner. So it’s the same team. We got it done.

“The strategy is to manage it as best we can and to hopefully make the current tenants as happy as they can be. We believe very strongly in the location and the area and the demographics and with the St. Louis retail market. And the next step is a redevelopment of some sort. And that’s what we’re going to start working on.”

Jacobs said Centrum and Angelo, Gordon are keeping their options open in terms of redeveloping the mall property and would prefer to keep the property as a retail center.

“We really don’t know what we’re going to do yet,” Jacobs said. “We do have some ideas. But I will say the focus will certainly be retail.”

Jacobs did say that a mixed-use redevelopment that incorporates a residential aspect is “one of a number of scenarios we’re looking at. As you can imagine, this business is very tenant-driven. And a lot of it is going to be us having ideas and sitting down with the tenants and seeing what floats their boat.”

“There have been conversations with the city,” Jacobs said. “The city has been great and very, very supportive.”

Crestwood Mayor Roy Robinson told those present at a Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night that the Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood “will be sold tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow will be a great time for the city of Crestwood because it is my belief — nothing official — that the mall will be sold tomorrow,” Robinson said Tuesday. “And if that happens, then we can only see great things happen. And if I wasn’t so sure that it’s going to happen, I wouldn’t tell you anything.

“But I was asked last week am I smiling? I wasn’t too much two weeks ago. Today, I’m smiling. I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen tomorrow. And there’s been nothing official come out on it. We’ve just got our people who are snooping. And just like the press, they’re trying to find out whether we can. But we honestly believe that something is in the mill and hopefully we’ll find out some time tomorrow. I don’t know if we will. It’s all up to Westfield and when they want to release it. But it sure looks good.”

Tentative plans for the mall property, which has sustained annual declines in sales-tax revenue and a deteriorating structure, have included converting the mall into a mixed-use development as part of a project valued more than $200 million.

Crestwood officials speculated last year that the mall’s redevelopment likely would be done in three phases at a cost of more than $250 million.

Robinson has said that he has told prospective developers that the mall “will” be redeveloped in phases to allow the city to continue collecting revenue from existing stores.

The sale and future development of the struggling Crestwood mall — which last year had a reported 55-percent occupancy rate — have been a concern for city officials as 53 percent of Crestwood’s sales-tax revenue comes from the mall.

For more information about the sale, check www.callnewspapers.com throughout the week.