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St. Clair Square owner files for bankruptcy protection

Shopping mall operator CBL & Associates Properties Inc., owner of St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights and three other malls in the St. Louis area, voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday.

The Tennessee-based mall owner is restructuring operations in the wake of store closures brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

CBL also owns West County Center, Mid Rivers Mall and South County Center in the St. Louis area.

Stephen D. Lebovitz, chief executive officer
CBL Properties, in a previous statement on the company’s website, said this of the restructuring plans:

“CBL Properties plays a vital role in the communities in which we are located. Our properties are a center of commerce that serve as a large employment base, a valuable community partner, and generate significant taxes that support programs in our communities. I am writing to communicate the important steps we are taking to position CBL for future success.

“On August 19th, we announced that CBL has entered into a restructuring support agreement (“RSA”) with a group representing a majority of our bondholders that will allow us to significantly strengthen our balance sheet and organization. In order to implement this comprehensive restructuring, the RSA contemplates that the company will commence voluntary Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“On September 28th, we announced that the Petition Date under the RSA has been further extended to November 2, 2020. We intend to use this additional time to continue collaborative negotiations.

“A few key points about this news:

• It’s business as usual at CBL’s properties. All CBL’s properties have reopened in accordance with the latest guidance from state and local governmental orders and will continue to operate as normal. Visitors to our properties will not notice any change in our operations.
• CBL Properties will be strengthened through this process. CBL will continue to own and operate a portfolio of market-dominant shopping centers with a vision to transform our properties from traditional enclosed malls to suburban town centers. This process will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet and provide even more flexibility to execute on our strategies.
• CBL will continue to work with our valued vendors, business partners and retailers. CBL has a significant cash position, which along with its net cash flow, provides sufficient liquidity to run our business. We will continue to meet our ongoing financial obligations.”

PHOTO: The food court at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights (file photo).

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