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Westfield in discussions to sell Crestwood mall


Dailey expects to hear more this week about status of mall


January 10, 2007 - After previously coming close to selling the Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood mall in May, the Westfield Group has amped up those efforts.

Crestwood Economic Development Specialist Ellen Dailey confirmed last week that Westfield officials are in discussions with companies interested in either partnering with Westfield or purchasing the mall.

At press time, no sale of the Crestwood mall had been completed, and Dailey said Westfield has not given a time frame of when it would like to sell the shopping center.

Dailey said she expects to hear more this week on the discussions between Westfield and prospective companies interested in the Crestwood mall.

"We need to get a better handle on what status it's in," Dailey said Friday. "But we'll know more next week."

Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood General Manager Don Ziss did not return calls before press time.

But through talks with Westfield Development Director Rob Lochner, Dailey said she has learned that Tim Lowe, Westfield's executive vice president of development, is close to the sales negotiations and that a handful of companies are involved.

"There are three people," Dailey said. "Westfield is still the same status as the same it's been for awhile. They're talking to several different companies or individuals or whatever about partnering or selling."

At this point, Dailey does not know if California-based Somera Capital Management, which last spring considered purchasing the Crestwood mall, is one of the interested companies.

She did say, however, that she would be in favor of Somera purchasing the mall if Westfield decides to follow through on a sale. Before deciding not to buy the Crestwood mall in May, Somera made its presence known in St. Louis County by purchasing Northwest Plaza in St. Ann.

"Somera's obviously a good company," Dailey said. "And I think if the mall is going to sell, they'd be a good company. They did a good job with Northwest Plaza."

Dailey added that because of the work still needed to be done at the Crestwood mall, Somera would be a good fit because the company has a history of purchasing lower-priced malls and then improving them to later sell for a profit.

Mayor Roy Robinson previously said he was informed that Somera opted out of the purchase of the Crestwood mall last spring because of media coverage of the sale and letters concerning the proposed sale mailed to mall businesses by Westfield.

Dailey said last week that the nixed deal in May was at least partly caused by a miscommunication in Westfield's corporate U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles.

No discussed dollar amounts on those previous sales discussions were released to the public.

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