At another General Growth Property in Austin, Texas, Dillards has elected to sue General Growth for neglecting the mall and wants out of its lease. According to the AP,
The suit claims that the Highland Mall was allowed to "deteriorate in character and quality such that it is now approximately half vacant, has a poor tenant mix comprised of tenants that are not consistent with (a) first-class shopping center operation." The suit also says that a JC Penney anchor store has left the center.
Dillard's wants a federal judge to void the company's lease with the mall.
A Dillard's spokeswoman said the company does not comment on litigation, as did a spokesman for Simon Property Group.
I should say here that Highland Mall is a joint venture between GGP and Simon.
Apparently Highland is now on a short list probalby like Crestwood here locally that will probably be closed soon. Crestwood Plaza is a mall here that traffic patterns and demographics has left behind.
The fact that Simon is a joint venture partner in this facility and it is still deteroriating does not bode well for other mall operators in the industry. While this may be an isolated case, it does bear watching. A lot of guys at the mall are hoping that Simon is the one that buys the Galleria out, since they are the ones that won't clean house when they buy. (I believe I had said that they are the ones that like to clean house (i.e. fire everyone and start with a clean slate of staff) but I got them inverted with Westfield who does do that sort of thing). But is Simon is in similar financial straits, then any hope of salvaging the industry is in shambles. It will be up to indivdual local developers in cities to either buy indivdual properties, or let them fall.