Wednesday, June 08, 2011

K Street Drama: Act 2399

The problems with the Westfield Mall anchor to K Street is a reflection of the problems with K Street, and this latest angst-ridden lack-of-causation (it’s unsafe and unsightly) article from the Sacramento Bee keeps their normative anti-business-society’s-fault narrative going.

An excerpt.

“Undermined by the economy and suburban competition, Sacramento's Downtown Plaza shopping mall has been losing luster and customers for years.

“Now, news that owner Westfield Group has put the mall up for sale has launched a fresh round of hope and concern – and has prompted some local leaders to say it may be time for a complete knockdown and do-over at the site.

“Among the key questions: Who will buy Sacramento's "forgotten mall," and will that company have the resources, creativity and political chops to reinvent the plaza, or at least to stop the downhill slide?

“Westfield, a mammoth international company, is offering little public information about its sales plan. Retail analysts say Downtown Plaza is one of 17 poorer-performing U.S. shopping centers the Australia-based company wants to unload to raise cash for expansions at more successful malls, including four in California.

"They're pruning the lower end of their portfolio," said Benjamin Yang, a retail analyst who tracks Westfield for Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, a securities brokerage firm.

“Whoever buys the 18-year-old mall will get it cheap.

“When Downtown Plaza reopened in 1993 after a $157 million revamp, Sacramentans flocked to the urban amenity and upscale stores such as J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Z Gallerie, Banana Republic and the Museum Co. Today, most of those tenants are gone. And so are the shoppers.

“Westfield's holdings at the downtown site, which do not include the two Macy's stores, have plummeted in value from $207 million to $55 million in four years, company reports show. Downtown Plaza is now worth one-tenth the value of Westfield's other local mall, Roseville Galleria.”