Miami Mall Sells for $150M, Outpacing 2021’s Retail Record

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It’s only early January and South Florida’s retail real estate market this year has already eclipsed the biggest deal of the year in 2021, thanks to a mall trade in Hialeah, Fla.

Starwood Capital Group sold the Westland Mall for $149.4 million, property records show. 

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The buyer, Dallas-based retail investor Centennial Real Estate Acquisition, acquired the property by assuming Starwood’s loan from Aareal Capital Corporation, according to public documents. 

The 301,593-square-foot shopping complex holds discount and mid-tier brands, such as H&M, Footlocker and Victoria Secret as well as Subway and McDonald’s outposts. The retail center is located on the outskirts of Miami, along the Palmetto Express Lane at 1675 W 49th Street.

Starwood, led by billionaire Barry Sternlicht, purchased the retail center for $78.6 million in 2004. Over a decade later in 2017, the firm secured the $160 million loan from Aareal, of which it paid $10.6 million to the lender. Centennial assumed the remaining balance of $149.4 million, thus taking ownership of the property. 

The deal does not include the three department stores, which are owned by the retailers. 

The deal trumps 2021’s largest retail trade by $41 million. In December 2021, AEW Capital Management, on behalf of an undisclosed client, paid $108 million for the Shops at Beacon Lakes, a fully leased, 417,248-square-foot mall near Sweetwater. 

Miami-Dade County’s retail scene is recovering from the pandemic. 

The absorption rate jumped a staggering 425,503 square feet during the third quarter of 2021, up from just 45,000 square feet the previous quarter, according to data from Miami brokerage MMG Equity Partners. During the same period, the asking rental rate grew by $1.68 to $38.55 a foot, while the vacancy rate fell by 0.8 percentage points to 3.6 percent.

Julia Echikson can be reached at Jechikson@commercialobserver.com.