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Oak Park Mall owner files for bankruptcy

Company says their malls will remain open
Posted at 7:12 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 20:19:23-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The owner of Oak Park Mall in Overland Park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday.

CBL & Associates Properties Inc., which owns around 100 malls in the Southeast and Midwest, said it had assets and estimated liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to a company news release.

The company said in the news release that its malls, including Oak Park, will remain open and customers, tenants and partners can expect business as usual.

Enclosed malls were struggling with increased competition from online retailers before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"This year has been brutal for both retailers and mall owners," the company stated in its news release. "In the spring, months-long closures of non-essential businesses, such as malls, prevented people from shopping and accelerated the shift to online shopping. It also didn't help that major retailers also filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic, with the number peaking in the summer."

Some of the company's biggest tenants, including J.C. Penney and Tailored Brands, filed for bankruptcy this year.

Stores in the malls also were devastated by the pandemic and were not able to pay rent to CBL.

"After months of discussions and consideration of a number of alternatives, CBL's management and the Board of Directors firmly believe that implementing the comprehensive restructuring as outlined in the RSA through a Chapter 11 voluntary bankruptcy filing will provide CBL with the best plan to emerge as a stronger and more stable company," CEO Stephen D. Lebovitz said in the news release. "With an aggregate of approximately $1.5 billion in unsecured debt and preferred obligations eliminated and a significant increase to net cash flow, upon emergence, CBL will be in a better position to execute on our strategies and move forward as a stable and profitable business."

CBL is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.